Gareth Bale is blocking out Denmark’s new status as neutrals’ favourites ahead of Saturday’s Euro 2020 last 16 clash in Amsterdam as he attempts to recreate Wales’ magnificent run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
Denmark overcame the emotional trauma of seeing Christian Eriksen suffer a cardiac arrest on the field during their first match of the tournament against Finland to reach the knockout stages thanks to a 4-1 thrashing of Russia on Monday. The Danish players’ reaction to surround Eriksen as he received medical treatment at the Parken Stadium and shield him from cameras drew widespread plaudits.
Bale is among them, but insisted that cannot get in the way of the job facing Wales. “We understand the situation that happened with them, we’ve sent all our best wishes to Christian and what a great job the Denmark team did with that,” said the Welsh captain, who added he was unaware of the support now for Denmark from around the world. I didn’t know that until someone said just now, I’m not on social media.
“We’ve been in situations where teams are favourites or have more support, against Turkey (in Baku) they had 18,000 in the stadium so it makes no difference. When it comes to kick-off it is just us players on the pitch.”
Bale’s one-season loan spell at Tottenham from Real Madrid has come to an end. When asked before the tournament, the 31-year-old said he would only reveal his future plans after the European Championship as it would cause “chaos”. That led to rumours Bale could retire, but he rejected the idea that he will play Saturday’s clash as if it is his final match for his country. “I’m not going to play it as if it is my last (match) because I want to get through to the next round,” he added. “The focus is on this game and not looking further forward.”
Welsh fans have been frustrated by coronavirus restrictions that prevent them from getting to the Dutch capital for the game. Robert Page’s men have also had to cover the third highest number of miles in the tournament so far after starting off with two games in Baku before facing Italy in Rome for the final Group A game.
“It is frustrating for the fans and players they can’t be here with us,” said Page. “We can’t grumble about it, it is how it is. How it’s unfolded we’ve gone from Baku to Rome and now Amsterdam. It’s not been easy with Covid (protocols) on top of that, but we’re fully prepared now and we’re ready for a battle.”