Wales must win against England on Tuesday night and hope Iran and the USA draw if their 64-year-wait to grace a World Cup is to extend beyond the group stage. Former Wales star Thomas believes the World Cup will be Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey’s final outings for their country and he wants the pair to go out on a high.
“It’s going to have to be the mother of all results, because Wales haven’t shown anything so far in the first two games,” said Thomas. “But if I say I think Wales are going to win, people will probably say I should be put in a straitjacket!
“I can’t say Wales aren’t going to win, because it can happen. Look at Saudi Arabia beating Argentina, we’ve seen upsets already at this World Cup. England are obviously favourites, but you just never know. Look at England v USA. Everyone thought the USA were going to get battered, but they could have won that game.
“Wales will have to raise the level of their performance and have more belief. But they’re going to be lifted just by the fact they’re playing England. I played against England on numerous occasions and it gives you a massive lift. I’m sure they'll be lifted by the occasion - they’ve got to be.
“It won’t be necessary for Rob Page to give a team talk beforehand, because Wales know they have to win the game to have any chance of going through. But there’s big pressure on England too, after the performance against the USA. They were poor against them.
“They have to improve their level too, and Gareth’s got one or two questions, like whether to play Phil Foden. So it won’t be easy for them either.”
Thomas, who won 51 caps for Wales and scored in a famous 4-1 win over England in 1980, reckons Bale and Ramsey will call time on their international careers after the World Cup.
“They’re obviously two influential players but they’ve not been in it at all,” said Thomas. They’ve looked tired and time catches up with everyone.
“They’ll both start against England, because Wales obviously need them, but whether they ‘re able to have an impact, I don’t know. “With the age they are, I don’t think they’re going to plod along, just to get more caps.
“They’ve both been incredible players. Ramsey has been massive and Bale is obviously one of the greatest players to ever play for Wales.
“There's a lot of talk about who is the greatest player of all-time for Wales, some say John Charles, some will say Ian Rush, but Bale has been such an influential player.
“He’s taken Wales further in major tournaments than anyone. We got to the Euros twice and now to the World Cup, so he’s achieved everything he wanted and had an incredible career.”
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