Wales’ return to the World Cup finals after 64 years ended in disappointment with a 3-0 defeat to England but Gareth Bale chose to look for the positives.
Two goals from Marcus Rashford and another from Phil Foden ended Welsh dreams on Tuesday night following the team’s 2-0 loss to Iran and 1-1 draw with the United States in previous Group B matches, reports Xinhua.
But even a win against England would ultimately not have been enough as the U.S. beating Iran meant it would have been impossible to advance.
Making his 111th appearance for his country, Bale had to come off with a hamstring problem at halftime, but speaking after the game he looked for positives.
“We are disappointed in the result but we have to realize we’ve come a long way to get here. We need to be proud of ourselves that we got here. It’s been a long time.”
“We’ve given everything and we’ll all walk out of that changing room with our heads held high and proud of what we’ve achieved,” he said.
The 33-year-old has confirmed he will not retire from international football after the World Cup and will continue to represent Wales.
“We have to learn from these experiences and look forward. We’ve qualified for three of the last four tournaments and we’ve gained invaluable experience, whether we do well in them for not,” added Bale who said Wales would “learn and regroup” ahead of the European Championship games in March.
Bale insisted it wouldn’t be difficult to “to pick ourselves up”
“The one thing this group does is bounce back very well and the characters in that dressing room are amazing. The togetherness is incredible. We’d love to have done better but we’ll go again in march looking to qualify for another major tournament.”
Finally, he praised the “incredible” Welsh supporters, who gave the players an emotional send-off after the final whistle on Tuesday night.
“We gave everything and they know that,” concluded Bale.