|Euro 2020 qualifying: Wales v Croatia|
|Venue: Cardiff City Stadium Date: Sunday, 13 October 2019 Kick-off: 19:45 BST|
|Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary. Highlights on Match of the Day Wales on BBC One Wales from 22:30 BST|
Captain Gareth Bale insists Wales can shock World Cup finalists Croatia in Cardiff on Sunday and still top Euro 2020 qualifying Group E.
Happy to be involved but feeling happier
Having already been booked for a tackle from behind on Stanislav Lobotka, Bale admits he could have received a second yellow in Slovakia. He will have to be careful against Croatia because another booking would rule him out of Wales’ penultimate qualifier in Azerbaijan.
He suffered a knock in making the challenge on Inter Milan defender Skriniar, but he insists he is “fit and fine” for Croatia.
“It was just a knock on the knee and a bit of ice has sorted that out,” said Bale.
“I was more worried about getting sent off, to be honest. I was happy to get away with that one, though I didn’t think the first one was a yellow card, so it evened itself out.
“I can’t make too many silly tackles [against Croatia], I have to be mindful of that. I don’t want to miss any games, especially at crunch time in the group.
“I have to be clever with what I am doing and maybe expect someone to try and rile me up to get me suspended.
“But I am experienced enough to get through without a booking.”
After a frustrating summer where his Real Madrid future was the subject of constant speculation, Bale says he is happier and healthier than he was when Wales were beaten 2-1 in Osijek in June in the reverse fixture.
“I’m in a better place physically more than anything than I was in the summer, because leading into the game I hadn’t played for five or six weeks, wasn’t too fit and wasn’t too happy,” he said.
“Hopefully that makes a difference come Sunday.”
Croatia winger Ivan Peresic agreed with Bale’s self-assessment, saying: “I would agree he probably was not in his best form in June but after a long summer he is playing better and better each week so we need to be very careful with him.”
Time to get one over on Modric
Bale is keen to finally get a win over his Real Madrid team-mate and opposition captain Luka Modric.
Modric, who won the 2018 Ballon d’Or – becoming the first player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the award in more than a decade – was also a team-mate of Bale’s at their previous club Tottenham Hotspur.
Bale has been on the losing side three times against Croatia since 2012, with the World Cup finalists winning the past two fixtures 2-1.
“Whenever we play them we always seem to lose by one goal, and it is always quite a tight game,” he said.
“Having played together for a long time at Tottenham and Real Madrid, we know each other well and it would be nice to get one over him finally.”