Bale: Wales must master 'dark arts' after Netherlands defeat

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Gareth Bale says Wales must learn the "dark arts" after defeat
Gareth Bale says Wales must learn the "dark arts" after defeat

Gareth Bale has suggested Wales need to master football's "dark arts" after they let a Nations League draw slip in a last-gasp 2-1 defeat to the Netherlands.

The Oranje emerged as victors in Group A4 following a dramatic stoppage-time period in Cardiff, where the Red Dragons looked to have seized a late point, only to lose it again.

Rhys Norrington-Davies appeared to have cancelled out Teun Koopmeiners' opener in the 92nd minute, only for Wout Weghorst to snatch a winner in the fourth added minute.

Both teams were much-changed and the result made for a sharp comedown after Wales' World Cup qualification on Sunday.

But Bale speculated whether improved game management might have helped the underpowered hosts cling on, telling S4C: "It was a difficult game.

"We didn't have our full-strength squad. The boys who came in worked very hard to get the equaliser [and] then to concede so early after that was gutting.

"It's something we have to learn, maybe the dark arts of taking them down. We need to learn from this.

"They're a world-class team [but] we're in this A league now because we deserve to be testing ourselves against the best.

"I think if you're the tier below, you get away with that at the end. You play the top teams, you don't do the things you need to do and you get punished.

"It's hard to take but it's something we need to learn from. We're still a young team we have to learn from stuff like that and take it forward."

With the loss, Wales suffered their first home defeat in a competitive international since November 2018, having been unbeaten in 13 such matches coming into the game.

Goalscorer Norrington-Davies felt similar frustrations with the defeat, but admitted it was a good chance for fringe players to stake a claim for a spot at Qatar 2022.

"I feel like we played well against a top side," he added."[I'm] delighted to get the goal but with the result, it's a disappointing night for myself.

"We all want a place at the World Cup, we're all battling it out. Obviously, quite a few youngsters played this evening, and we have to show what we've got.

"We take a lot of positives from the games, but at the end of the day we haven't got a point yet. I feel like we could have at least taken a point."

Tags

WalesUEFA Nations LeagueGareth Bale
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