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Bale out for Wales, but so is Lukaku, Courtois and Hazard for Belgium

There will be no Gareth Bale in tonight’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Belgium.

It was reported yesterday that he was a doubt for tonight’s game, although he might come off the bench.

Now it’s been revealed that he’s not in the 23-man matchday squad.

Bale won his 100th cap in the 5-1 victory over Belarus on Saturday after two months out with a hamstring injury but came off after 45 minutes.

Bale trained separately from the main group on Monday.

Yesterday, manager Robert Page said: “He wasn’t going to start against Belgium.”.

“We knew that coming into camp. The plan was always for him to get a half in the first game and then come on and maybe have an impact in the second game.”

Page said about Bale’s recovery following the Belarus game: “He is going to be stiff. He has not played for a couple of months and to throw him in was a big ask from a physical point of view.

“He’ll recover on his own (on Monday) and we’ll leave it to the last minute to see if he can play minutes. He is getting there, slowly but surely. We will get him back to full fitness.

“It’s frustrating for him. He made a tremendous effort to get fit for the game and he takes credit for that.”

Belgium absences

In March, Wales are assured a World Cup play-off spot based on their Nations League results.

Hazard and Courtois, two Real Madrid teammates of Bale, will not take part in Belgium’s World Cup qualifier tonight as they have returned to their club.

Belgium will also be without a number of regular first team stars including formidable striker Romelu Lukaku, alongside Michy Batshuayi, Youri Tielemans, Jeremy Doku, Thomas Vermaelen, Toby Alderweireld, Jason Denayer and Simon Mignolet.