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Coleman backs Bale to rise to Russia challenge

Wales boss Chris Coleman has no concerns over Gareth Bale’s form heading into their decisive Euro 2016 game against Russia in Toulouse.

Bale is the joint top scorer in the tournament having scored a free-kick in the 2-1 win over Slovakia before for doing likewise in a loss by the same margin to England.

His contribution from open play has not been as influential but, speaking during a pre-match news conference at Stadium de Toulouse on Sunday, Coleman suggested there was a collective failure of Wales’ attacking talent in the latter match.

“I was more concerned that when we were on the ball against England we didn’t do what we are capable of doing,” he said.

“The game before that we played some great football and Bale was a part of that.

“It was just the England game where in possession we were out of sorts. That’s my only gripe with the guys. 

“Against Slovakia we were good and had chances to score goals. In the England game, offensively we weren’t good and that’s not Baleo, that’s all of us. We never passed the ball how we could.”

While Real Madrid’s Bale is well established as Wales’ major threat, captain Ashley Williams is primed for an intriguing battle with Russia’s powerhouse centre-forward Artem Dzyuba.

“He’s a strong player and we’ve got the footage on him,” said the Swansea City centre-back.

“He likes a scrap, he’s very mobile and very good with his feet also. He’s his own player so I wouldn’t compare him to anyone else.

“He’s a good player, so we know what we’re up against.”

Sun 19 Jun, 2016
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