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Cole hails devastating Bale

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15 Oct 2012 18:50:06

Cole hails devastating Bale

Chris Coleman would not swap Gareth Bale for any other player - but was keen to stress that Wales are not a one-man team.

Bale was the star of Friday's come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Scotland in Cardiff, earning and converting an 81st-minute penalty before smashing home the winner with a minute of normal time remaining to secure the Dragons their first points in their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Coleman - speaking ahead of Tuesday's clash with Croatia in Osijek - said: "Everybody sees when he is with the ball how devastating he is. But his work rate is excellent as well and he is just a nice boy. He plays with loads of passion and on top of that, he has incredible ability. So I'd be crazy - who are you going to swap him with?"

The 23-year-old winger also scored in Wales' previous Group A match, the 6-1 reverse in Serbia, direct from a free-kick.

That was their only other goal of the campaign - they lost their opener 2-0 at home to Belgium - and in the six matches in total they have now played since Coleman was appointed in January, with the Scotland result having ended a run of five consecutive defeats.

When he was then asked if he felt Wales were overly reliant on Bale, Coleman said: "He has (scored all three of the team's goals in the campaign), but you look at our performance on Friday and it wasn't just Baley.

"He got the goals, but there were some terrific performances. They all played their part so we could put ourselves in a position where we knew if we got one or two chances, with someone like that (Bale), he could turn the game around - which he did."

Having moved off the bottom of Group A up to fourth with Friday's win, Wales are looking to build upon that performance against Croatia, who are currently second, level on seven points with leaders Belgium.

"They (Croatia) are a good team littered with good players," Coleman said. "It is good for us to go there off the back of a win and a good performance.

"Nevertheless, I think we must learn from the last double-header - Belgium was a good performance even though we lost, and then we were poor against Serbia. We can't repeat that. It is a tough, tough game for us, but one we think we can get something out of."


PA

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