Gareth Bale is expecting a “feisty” affair with England on Thursday when Wales seek to secure qualification for the knockout stages of Euro 2016.
Wales’ 2-1 victory over Slovakia in Bordeaux on Saturday has given them a great chance of progress into the round of 16 of their first major tournament for 58 years.
And with Group B rivals England held 1-1 by Russia in Marseille, the pressure will be on them to win in Lens on Thursday.
“We understand it’s going to be a derby,” Bale said. “It’s going to be feisty. But we’ll prepare well. We’ll be preparing for the next four days for the next game, and no matter who it is we’re trying to win. We’re concentrating on ourselves and nobody else — and we’ll be ready for the game.”
Real Madrid forward Bale set Wales on their way in Bordeaux via a free kick — his 20th goal for his country after scoring seven times in qualification.
It put Bale on his own in fifth place on the all-time Wales scoring list, and within eight of equalling record scorer Ian Rush.
– Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) June 12, 2016
“Obviously on a personal level it’s great to get the goal, but it really doesn’t matter who scores — we just want the points,” Bale said. “We want the wins and we want to go as far as we can in this tournament. But we are just going to concentrate on the next game. We want to win the game, we want to play well and we want to do everything we did against Slovakia.”
Bale said winning their first game of the tournament was vital to Wales’ campaign.
“We weren’t concentrating on anything else other than Slovakia,” Bale said. “We have just worked hard as a team, we ran until we couldn’t run any more. We were under the cosh a bit towards the end, but our fans were the 12th man and pulled us through.”
Joe Allen was named Man of the Match as he underlined his importance to Chris Coleman’s team after injury.
Allen was crucial in preventing Slovakia danger man Marek Hamsik from being a major influence on the game, while his ability to break up the play was often the launch pad for Wales’ attacks.
“The message was if we lost this game it wasn’t over, but having won it we’re still not through,” Allen said. “Our focus has to be that no complacency sets in now, and we go into the remaining games with the same attitude, effort and mindset to get a positive result.”
On Bale’s contribution, Allen added: “We’re running out of words to describe Gareth. I love talking about him because every time he steps out on the pitch for us he does the business.
“To come up with a moment like that is why we love him. He’s world-class. You have to mention the shift he puts in, he could rely on the rest of us to allow him to have his moments. But that’s not his approach. He’s willing to put in as much work as everybody else.”