Gareth Bale: Wales expect captain to face Austria despite injury doubt

Gareth Bale is Wales record scorer with 36 goals in 100 internationals
Gareth Bale is Wales record scorer with 36 goals in 100 internationals
Men's World Cup qualifier play-off semi-final: Wales v Austria
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium Date: Thursday, 24 March Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live, Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, BBC Sport website and app, plus live text online. Highlights BBC Two Wales from 23:15 GMT and later on demand

Wales are hopeful Gareth Bale will be fit for Thursday's World Cup play-off against Austria despite Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti revealing he missed Sunday's game against Barcelona because he "didn't feel well".

Reports in Spain say the Wales captain had back pain.

"He tried this morning but he wasn't up to playing," Ancelloti said on Sunday.

"He's now going to join up with his national team and they'll decide whether he plays or not."

Bale has arrived in the Wales camp having been included in manager Robert Page's squad for the World Cup semi-final, despite playing in only two games for Real Madrid since his last international appearance in November 2021.

The 32-year-old Wales captain has been left out of Real Madrid's squad for some recent games but was originally named on their list of players available for El Clasico, which Barcelona won 4-0.

Aaron Ramsey joins up with the Wales squad after scoring his first goal for Rangers on Sunday since joining on loan from Juventus in January.

The winner of the Wales v Austria semi-final will face the winner of Scotland v Ukraine, a game that has been postponed.

Scotland and Ukraine's fixture will now be played in June, with the play-off final to follow in the same month.

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