Gareth Bale has expressed his disappointment at Wales conceding a late equaliser at home to Serbia but insisted they can still claim Group D’s ticket to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. The 27-year-old broke the deadlock with a firm, low strike on the half-hour. He then hit the post in the 84th minute, only for Serbia to race up the other end and snatch a draw courtesy of Aleksandar Mitrovic’s header.
The result left Wales two points behind Serbia and four shy of leaders Republic of Ireland, whom they meet in Dublin in their next qualifier.
"We are so disappointed at the moment,” Bale told Sky Sports. “We played great in the first half but then we faded. In the second half we did not play as well, but we dug in and we showed our heart, but it was disappointing to concede at the end.
“It's one of those things: you go so close at one end and then they go up and score. At home we were confident, we were 1-0 up in the 85th minute – it's two points lost.
"We have to keep fighting. We believe we can still do it. We need to keep working hard, keep doing the things we do and we will get a bit of luck at some point."
Bale, who dazzled as Real Madrid won the FIFA Club World Cup in 2014, has now scored 26 goals in 64 internationals – just two shy of the Wales record held by former Liverpool and Juventus striker Ian Rush.
Sweden 1958 is the only World Cup in which Wales have participated. They came from behind to beat Hungary 2-1 and reach the quarter-finals, where, without injured talisman John Charles, they put up a spirited fight in a 1-0 loss to eventual champions Brazil.
A late penalty from Scotland’s Davie Cooper denied Neville Southall, Mark Hughes, Ian Rush and Co a place at Mexico 1986. UEFA EURO 2016 was the first major tournament they competed at in 58 years.