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Saturday, 24 July 2021

Bale hopes 'hostile' Baku crowd can fire up Wales

Bale's team face the Crescent Stars on Wednesday and the locals will be backing Turkey due to the historical and cultural links between Ankara and Baku.

AFP , Tuesday 15 Jun 2021
Bale
Wales' forward Gareth Bale runs with the ball during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group A football match between Wales and Switzerland at the Olympic Stadium in Baku on June 12, 2021. AFP
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Wales captain Gareth Bale said on Tuesday a "hostile" Baku crowd supporting Turkey in their Euro 2020 Group A match will motivate his side.

Bale's team face the Crescent Stars on Wednesday and the locals will be backing Turkey due to the historical and cultural links between Ankara and Baku.

According to the Azerbaijani football association, some 4,000 Turkish fans have made the trip to the city on the edge of the Caspian Sea.

"Hostility is no problem. This is what we do for a living. We're used to playing in away games and being in front of hostile crowds," Bale said.

"It's something we enjoy doing.

"If anything it spurs us on to be a bit more ruthless on the pitch and hopefully we can keep them silent."

Wales, who surprisingly reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals in just their second appearance at a major tournament, began their campaign with Saturday's 1-1 draw with Switzerland.

They trail Group A leaders Italy by two points, before heading to Rome on Sunday.

Robert Page's side likely need to avoid defeat at Baku's Olympic Stadium to keep their hopes of a last 16 spot alive.

"It's not always about the performance, sometimes in tournament football you have to find a way to get a result and we've done that," Page said.

"We've shown resilience. We've identified this one (Turkey) as one we can do alright in.

"Four points from two games will set us up nicely going into the game against Italy," he added.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
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