UEFA Nations League: Gareth Bale says Wales must learn ‘dark arts’ before World Cup after Netherlands loss | Football News

Gareth Bale said Wales must learn the ‘dark arts’ to break up play when necessary after his side conceded a late winner at home to the Netherlands in the Nations League on Wednesday (June 8). Wales, who secured their spot at the World Cup with a playoff win against Ukraine, equalised in the second minute of stoppage time but failed to see the game out as Wout Weghorst snatched a 2-1 win with a diving header moments later.

Weghorst’s goal came after Frenkie de Jong had cut through several Welsh challenges in midfield and Bale said one of his teammates should have fouled the Dutch player to stop him. “To get the equaliser and to then concede was gutting but we have to learn the dark arts to take him down,” Bale, who came on in the 77th minute, told broadcaster S4C.

“We need to use this as a learning experience. If that happens again in the World Cup, we need to do what we need to do … when you play the top teams and don`t do the things you need to do you get punished.”

Interim manager Page said Wales were not ‘streetwise enough’ to get the result. “It was a great opportunity but we showed naivety in seeing the game out. That’s a valuable lesson to learn,” he added.

Wales, grouped with the United States, Iran and England in Qatar, host Belgium in the Nations League on Saturday. A second-string Netherlands beat Wales 2-1 away after a dramatic late finale in the Nations League on Wednesday, bringing the hosts back down to earth after they secured World Cup qualification at the weekend.

Wout Weghorst won the game for the Dutch, scoring with a header four minutes into stoppage time, straight after Wales looked to have snatched a late draw when Rhys Norrington-Davies netted two minutes into stoppage time.

Teun Koopmeiners opened the scoring five minutes into the second half to give the visitors the lead, after coach Louis van Gaal had changed his entire team from the side that opened their League A Group Four campaign with a 4-1 thumping of neighbours Belgium last Friday.

Wales also rested some of their senior squad members after winning a World Cup place for the first time in 64 years when they beat Ukraine 1-0 on Sunday, allowing fringe players to stake a claim for selection in the Qatar-bound team.

Despite looking the brighter of the two sides in the first half, Wales were caught early in the second when Koopmeiners found a pocket of space to fire home from the edge of the area with his weaker right foot after being set up by debutant Jerdy Schouten.

(with Reuters inputs)

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