Monday, October 7, 2013

7 October 2006 - Bale Gets A Good Example

On 7 October 2006, Gareth Bale became Wales' youngest goalscorer at the age of 17 years and 35 days. Unfortunately, it was the only positive note of the day for the team.

Bale, who was still a left back for Southampton at the time, had already broken one national team record when he made his debut earlier that year at the age of 16 years and 315 days. He notched an assist in that game, a 2-1 win over Trinidad and Tobago. He then got called up for Wales' qualification campaign for Euro 2008.

He missed the first game, a 2-1 loss to the Czech Republic, but started the second, with Wales hosting Slovakia at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff. Unfortunately for the home supporters, the Dragons fell behind early to a goal from Dušan Švento (14'), then conceded another to Marek Mintál (32') (Švento was a modified left back/winger, a path that Bale eventually followed).

Shortly afterward, though, Bale got his opportunity to cut the deficit. In the 38th minute, he took a free kick with his left foot from just outside the box and drove it into the top right corner. The slight reprieve didn't last long, however, as Mintál scored from 40 yards out just one minute later.

Wales conceded two more goals (Miroslav Karhan 51', Robert Vittek 59') to end the day as a 1-5 loss. It was the team's worst defeat since a 1-7 home loss to England in 1908. Ultimately, neither Wales nor Slovakia qualified for Euro 2008.

Since then, Bale has increased his scoring record and has a current total of eleven goals in 42 appearances.

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