Wales will be without their talisman for their final two 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Gareth Bale will not feature against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland as he has failed to recover from a calf injury he picked up in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win at Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League last Tuesday.
This is a huge blow for Chris Coleman’s side as they currently sit four points behind Group D leaders Serbia heading into the final two games of qualifying.
That means Wales are battling it out with the Republic of Ireland, who they host in Cardiff next Monday, for second spot which will likely see them go into a playoff for a spot at the 2018 tournament in Russia.
28-year-old Bale is Wales’ second highest all-time leading goalscorer (just two goals behind Ian Rush’s record of 28) and in his absence the likes of Sam Vokes, Aaron Ramsey and Hal Robson-Kanu will have to step up to try and deliver the goals they need to at least seal a playoff spot.
Bale has scored four of Wales’ 12 goals so far in qualifying but has often been battling through injuries when it has come to international games over the past 12 months.
Now that he is out, the prospect is very real that the EURO 2016 semifinalists are in danger of missing out on qualifying for the World Cup, which would be their first tournament since the 1958 competition in Sweden.