Real Madrid attacker Gareth Bale was at the double as he masterminded Wales progress to the final of the playoffs in path A of the European qualifiers as far as the World Cup 2022 tournament on Qatari soil is concerned. Wales had earlier settled for the playoffs after finishing behind Belgium in their qualifying group.
In the playoffs, they were drawn in path A alongside three other teams namely Austria, fellow home nation Scotland and Ukraine. Wales were drawn to face Austria at home in a one-legged playoff tie to progress into the final, while Scotland were drawn to face Ukraine at home also in a one-legged playoff tie for a place in the final.
Gareth Bale and Wales were able to book their place in the final of path C in the European section of the World Cup 2022 qualifiers after their 2-1 win over the Austrians thanks to the two goals from the Real Madrid player either side of the half-time break. Bale scored a stunning free-kick to give Wales the lead on 25 minutes as he ensured that his team went into the half-time interval with an advantage. He added a second Wales goal six minutes into the second half before an own goal from Tottenham Hotspur defender Ben Davies on 65 minutes gave Austria a lifeline to get back into the tie. In the end, Wales held on to their slim advantage to boost their hopes of reaching their first World Cup tournament since the 1958 edition in Sweden.
Bale and Wales will have to wait till June to know their final opponents in path C after the tie between Scotland and Ukraine was postponed on the back of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The winner of the tie between Ukraine and hosts Scotland will face Wales in the final for a place at the World Cup 2022 tournament in Qatar.