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Gareth Bale determined to keep Wales World Cup dream alive

Bale was injured as Wales missed out on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Gareth Bale is determined not to give up on his World Cup dream, despite missing out on the finals in Russia this summer.

Bale had to watch on helplessly because of injury as Wales’ World Cup ambitions were ended in the final group game by the Republic of Ireland in October.

And, although Bale will be 33 by the time of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Real Madrid forward says he will be even more motivated to be at the tournament.

“It was a massive disappointment for all of us not to reach the World Cup having experienced the Euros, which was incredible,” Bale said.

“But normally if we do well in one campaign we die away in the next.

“We were right there until the end, so we have to take the positives.

“Losing and missing out on the World Cup makes us even more hungry to qualify next time.”

Bale has won 10 trophies since joining Real in 2013, including three Champions League titles.

But Monday’s China Cup final against Uruguay would represent his first piece of silverware in a Wales jersey.

And, having become Wales’ record goalscorer with a semi-final hat-trick against China, Bale believes the early signs under new manager Ryan Giggs are promising.

“It’s a chance for us to keep building on what we’ve done,” said Bale, who has been the centre of attention in Nanning.

“We want to build a strong squad for the future to keep on qualifying and be competitive in qualification and tournaments.

“We all need to push in the same direction to make that happen.”

Wales demolished the hosts 6-0 in the tournament’s opening game, but Uruguayan opponents featuring Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez present a far sterner test.

Skipper Ashley Williams is set to join Craig Bellamy as Wales’ fourth most-capped player by making his 78th appearance.

In doing so, Williams will renew a spicy rivalry with former Liverpool striker Suarez – a player he once accused of diving so much during a game that he wanted to “knock him out”.

Everton defender Williams was a Swansea player in 2012 when, writing in his book My Premier League Diary, he said Suarez was “streets ahead” of any player he disliked in the top flight.

But Williams was more diplomatic on the eve of the Uruguay game, saying: “He’s always a tough opponent.

“I said at the time, he’s the hardest striker to play against in the Premier League.

“He’s one of the best strikers in the world, and he’s definitely one of the best I’ve played against.

“But these are the games you want to be playing in, against some of the best players in the world.”

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