Gareth Bale: Wales aiming for top spot in World Cup qualifying, says captain

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Gareth Bale, Wales's all-time top scorer, has scored 36 goals in 98 games.

World Cup 2022 qualifying: Wales against Estonia Venue: Cardiff City Stadium. Date: Wednesday 8 September Kick-off at 19:45 BST. Live commentary: BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru. Score updates and text on BBC Sport's website and app. Highlights from Match of the Day Wales, BBC One Wales starting at 22:35 BST

Gareth Bale believes that Wales can defeat the highest-ranked Belgian team and qualify for the first World Cup since 1958.

Belgium is top of Group E with seven points more than third-placed Wales. However, they have played two more games.

Wales would win over Estonia on Wednesday to move into second place, but Bale insists that they won't settle for a playoff spot.

He said, "We are just completely focused on trying to win this group."

"If we win every game, we qualify. We still have the power, but we have a lot of work ahead.

"We cannot look back two months later. We must focus on the next game which is Estonia. Let's hope we get three points so that we can move on to the next.

"It's a cliché and everyone says it. But we can't ignore that. Everyone expected us to win against Belarus and it turned out be one of our most difficult games."

Bale scored a match-winning hat trick deep in injury time, giving Wales a dramatic 3-2 victory over Belarus in Russia.

Wales could have lost its chances of automatically qualifying for the 2022 World Cup at Qatar by dropping points against lowly opponents.

Only the winners of the group qualify, and the runners-up are eligible to enter the play-offs.

Some may be skeptical of Welsh ambitions to top the group. Semi-finalists Belgium for Euro 2020 and 2018 World Cup, Belgium won four of their five games so far and draw one. They have also scored 20 goals.

However, Wales has overcome all odds to defeat Belgium in the past, first in qualifying for Euro 2016 in 2015, and then at the tournament, where they won a stunning 3-1 quarter-final victory that took them to their first major semi-final.

Bale, who played a crucial role in these successes, has set his sights on World Cup qualification as the last big ambition for Wales.

The 32-year old Real Madrid forward stated that he believes there is still more to be done.

"I believe we are in the right mindset to try and qualify for the World Cup.

We know it will be difficult to win the group, or even qualify for the play-offs, but we have faith in ourselves.

"We believe that no matter how poorly we perform, we can beat any team.

"We all stick together and work hard to get the result we want, as we demonstrated the other night.

"It (the World Cup), is something every player dreams about playing in and qualifying to, and I'm no exception - nor is anyone else in my squad."