Gareth Bale: Real Madrid forward not included in Wales squad to face Belgium

Gareth Bale celebrated his 100th Wales cap after their 5-1 victory over BelarusVenue: Cardiff City Stadium Date: Tuesday, 16 November Kick-off: 19:45 GMTCoverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, plus live text and score updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

Wales captain Gareth Bale will play no part in Tuesday’s decisive World Cup qualifier against Belgium.

The Real Madrid forward has been left out of manager Robert Page’s squad of 23 for the game in Cardiff.

Bale, 32, was taken off at half-time in Saturday’s 5-1 thrashing of Belarus, a precautionary substitution he described as “planned” afterwards.

He had not played for two months prior to that game because of a hamstring tear.

Page had said on Monday that they would assess Bale’s recovery before making a final decision, indicating that the Real Madrid star’s only hope of featuring against Belgium would have been as a substitute.

“He was never going to start. We knew that coming into camp,” Page told the media on the eve of the game.

“The plan was always for him to get a half in the first game and then come on and maybe have an impact in the second game.

“He has not played for a couple of months and to throw him in for that game was a big ask from a physical point of view.”

Aaron Ramsey urges Wales to seize rare opportunity

Speaking after Saturday’s victory, Bale dismissed suggestions he had picked up an injury during the game at Cardiff City Stadium and said he expected to face Belgium after his substitution against Belarus had been planned.

“I’ve been out for two months so if we were up the plan was to come off,” Bale told Sky Sports after the game.

He added “It was always the plan to play 45 minutes [against Belarus].”

Wales are already guaranteed a play-off place having won their Nations League group last year but, to have any chance of a home draw, they must finish second in their World Cup qualifying group.

Wales are second in Group E, three points ahead of the third-placed Czech Republic, who will be expected to beat Estonia on Tuesday.

Robert Page’s men can secure second spot on Tuesday with a draw at home to Belgium.

If Wales and the Czech Republic end on the same points, second place…

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