World Cup 2022: Historic journey for Rob Page's men begins as squad leaves for Qatar
The Welsh football team have begun an historic journey as they depart for Qatar to take part in the 2022 World Cup tournament.
The squad held an open training session at Cardiff City Stadium with hundred of local school children before they left for Cardiff Airport on Tuesday afternoon.
Wales' first World Cup in 64 years gets underway in less than a week. Rob Page's men will face off against USA on Monday 21 November 7pm.
The squad looked to be in high spirits as they went through their paces in front of the fans.
They were also greeted by crowds as they arrived at the airport to board the Qatar Airways flight to Doha.
Wales boss Rob Page told ITV News they were "excited" as he asked the fans to keep supporting the team.
Elizabeth and Kevin Davies, who are in their 70s, told ITV News they have been to every home game and were among the fans to greet the players at the airport. Elizabeth described it as a "magical moment".
Captain Gareth Bale was front and centre of Tuesday's training session ten days after his heroic stoppage-time equaliser helped Los Angeles FC win the MLS Cup.
Bale, Wales' all-time leading goal-scorer has made only two substitute appearances for his club since his last game for Cymru.
Despite this, the five-time Champions League winner eased any fitness concerns when he told reporters he was "fully fit and ready to go" at a press conference.
Those words will no doubt trigger a collective sigh of relief for fans across the country and for manager Rob Page who is also monitoring the fitness of midfielder Joe Allen.
Narbeth-raised Allen is seen as an influential member of the Wales squad but hasn't played since September because of a hamstring injury.
Allen said: "I'm doing everything I can to get myself fit, I'm hoping to be fit for the first game."
The players and school children were joined by Welsh drill rapper Sage Todz who performed his World Cup inspired song ‘O HYD’.
The WRU also shared the moment its squad applauded Rob Page's men as they left their hotel, along with the caption, "Pob lwc bois".
Whilst the team are hoping to leave their mark on this Winter's World Cup, the players have emphasised the importance of having an impact off the field as-well.
Qatar has been criticised for its stance on same-sex relationships and treatment of migrant workers.
Bale has vowed to wear the OneLove armband, to show support to groups that face discrimination, including members of the LGBTQ+ community.
He said: "The most we can do as footballers is make awareness, it's for people higher up to make those decisions and to hopefully make the change for the better.
"We support everything in terms of the armband, we'll be supporting everything and doing as much as we can to hopefully get change in the right way."
Many have labelled Wales' Group B as the 'group of death'. Cymru will face USA in the first of their three group games on Monday 21 November.
Page's men will then face Iran on Friday 25 November before a mouth-watering clash against England on Tuesday 29 November.