There was a moment from yesterday’s World Cup qualifying game between Wales and the Czech Republic that, without the benefit of context, would not have been all that notable.
In the 87th minute of the game, Wales star Gareth Bale found himself waiting to head a long clearance from the Wales end of the field. Bale tracked the ball through the air, quickly looked over his shoulder to see where the nearest defender was, and then … got his head nowhere near the ball while elbowing that defender in the face:
On the surface, this looks like the kind of thing that happens in soccer games every week. Forwards and center backs are always trying to out-jump each other for long passes, and sometimes an errant elbow finds an eye socket or a nose. But watch the clip again, and notice how Bale seems to be really intent on figuring out where his opponent’s head is going to be. Also consider that he was looking at Ondrej Kudela, who plays his club soccer for Slavia Prague and last week kicked off a huge fracas by allegedly whispering some extremely racist shit into Glen Kamara’s ear:
Add to this the fact that Bale wore a shirt that said “Show racism the red card” before the match against the Czech Republic started, and what we have here is a nice little tale of comeuppance.
Wales won the game 1–0, and Kudej had to leave the field after Bale clocked him.