At a raucous and emotionally charged Cardiff City Stadium, the Red Dragons beat Ukraine 1-0, courtesy of Andriy Yarmolenko heading in an own goal whilst attempting to clear a Bale free kick.
Rob Page’s side have become the first Welsh team to reach the World Cup since 1958 and Sunday’s result is the culmination of a decade long journey for the experienced members of the squad such as Bale, midfielder Aaron Ramsey and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
‘It means everything, what dreams are made of, we’ve been working towards it since I first came in here,’ Bale told Sky Sports after the match.
‘The result is the greatest in Welsh football history. We’re going to a World Cup!
‘It’s difficult to put it into words. It’s what we’ve been working all our careers for and to do this for the fans, the nation, ourselves and our families is an incredible achievement, and it will be something that we will be forever proud of.
‘It means everything. It is the last piece of the jigsaw that we all wanted and we’re going to celebrate well tonight.’
There was much speculation that had Wales failed to make it to the tournament in Qatar, Bale would announce his retirement from the game for good.
The winger barely played in the past season and will leave Real Madrid in the summer at the end of his contract, but it is now likely he will sign for another club in order to get match fitness ahead of November’s finals.
Asked if he may postpone any plans to retire, Bale, who has been linked with former club Tottenham, Cardiff and various MLS sides, simply replied: ‘Maybe for a little bit!’
As for the World Cup itself, Wales have been drawn in Group B where they will face fierce rivals England as well as Iran and the USA.
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