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    Soccer News: Bale open for Wales showing ‘offside’ as Page suggests Germany regret team photo

    Gareth Bale insisted that any political announcement from Wales would take place “on the sidelines” as manager Rob Page suggested Germany lost focus during the OneLove armband saga.

    Wales and Germany were two teams created to support the OneLove campaign, which promotes “integration and is against discrimination of any kind”.

    But FIFA threatened sporting sanctions – presumably yellow cards – if their captains wore logo armbands, prompting the contestants to back off.

    Germany responded with a unique outcry, covering their mouths for the team’s pre-match photo against Japan over FIFA “denying us the right to vote”.

    However, Germany then lost to Japan in a result that already put them at risk of elimination.

    Die Mannschaft coach Hansi Flick insisted that after Wednesday’s match, the demonstration could not be used as an excuse, but Bale alluded to this at his press conference the next day, and Page openly cited the German example.

    “We weren’t too happy that we couldn’t wear it with the sanctions that would have been put in place,” Bale said.

    “I know people said that I should have put it on but I would have been removed after about 25 minutes. Of course we support it, but at the same time we are here to play football.

    “Just because we don’t wear a bandage doesn’t mean we don’t support it. We are all for equality and we are always trying to do the right thing by trying to create that understanding.

    “If you talk about anything else, I think when teams try to do something else and the result doesn’t go right, they get criticized for not concentrating on football.

    “For us, now that the tournament has started, we really need to focus on football for ourselves. But outside of the game, if there’s anything we can do to raise awareness or support, we’ll definitely do it.”

    Page said: “We have campaigns going on that we fully support as an association and as the Welsh government.

    “I want my players to focus completely on playing football and winning. I’m sure Germany now, looking back, will probably have the same message.”

    Page, who confirmed that Joe Allen is ready for Friday’s meeting with Iran, praised Bale as he prepares to break the Wales record for most appearances.

    “I think overnight it took it to another level again with what he did,” the Wales boss said of his captain, who equalized with the United States.

    “He admits that it was probably not one of his best games in 90 minutes, but when you need him, he will help you.

    “If you wanted someone in a tense situation to equalize late, it would be Gareth Bale taking this penalty.

    “He did it over and over again for us. When we needed a win over Austria he scored goals, against Ukraine he was the one who stepped forward to take the free kick and take us to the final.

    “He deserves all the accolades he’s getting at the moment.”

    Bale added: “Honestly, I didn’t really fixate on the cap.

    “If you think about it now, this is an amazing achievement, an honor to represent my country so many times.

    “But it is more important that we try to win tomorrow. I hope we can make it even more special.”

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