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Wednesday 28 June 2017

Absent Bale is backing Wales side

The Champions League winner is suspended for a game where defeat for Wales would end their interest in qualification. Photo: PA Wire
The Champions League winner is suspended for a game where defeat for Wales would end their interest in qualification. Photo: PA Wire

Gareth Bale says he will be cheering on Wales, Ireland’s World Cup rivals, from afar in Sunday’s qualifier away to Serbia.

Wales are without Bale in a competitive game for the first time in three years as the Champions League winner is suspended for a game where defeat for Wales would end their interest in qualification.

"I'm sure they can pull it off without me. I've been disappointed for a while about it but I'll be cheering them on and of course they can get a result," says Bale.

Table-toppers Serbia hope to have a full house to back their World Cup bid against Wales on Sunday as Serbia aim to get closer to qualification.

A crowd of under 8,000 paid in to the Red Star Stadium in Belgrade for the opening game of the group, Ireland's 2-2 draw there in September, but interest in the national side has been boosted by good displays and Wales, unlike Ireland, could face a hostile crowd.

"I hope that the stadium on Sunday will be full, close to 50,000 fans. And the most important thing is that we beat Wales," says Chelsea star Nemanja Matic, who has been joined in the senior squad for the first time by his younger brother, Uros, hoping for his senior debut at the age of 27.

"If the stadium is full then we will have no problem with motivation but it's all about beating Wales and getting the three points," says Uros.

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