Slovakia played into Bale's hands - Skrtel

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The Liverpool centre-back admits that his side were well aware of the Real Madrid man's threat ahead of their defeat to Wales in Bordeaux.

Martin Skrtel has admitted that his Slovakia side failed to deal with the threat of Gareth Bale as they slumped to an opening night defeat against Wales in Group B.

Bale scored the opening goal from a 10th-minute free-kick as Chris Coleman's side registered a 2-1 victory in Bordeaux in what was a first European Championship finals fixture for both sides.

And Skrtel conceded afterwards that Slovakia had brought the trouble on themselves by allowing the Real Madrid star the chance to strike from the set piece.

"You know the key if you play against him, you know his skill in the free kick and you cannot make the fouls around the box and we made one, and he took a free kick and scored a goal," the Liverpool defender told reporters after the game.

"He showed his class in that situation. Obviously he's a world class player and it showed on the pitch."

Skrtel added that while his team came away from the game with nothing, they were not caught out by Wales' approach to the game.

"We expected exactly the style of how they played today, because obviously we knew they have a Bale and they try to play everything through him and exactly that happened. Unfortunately we couldn't conrtol the situation and conceded two goals and lost the game.

Slovakia must now bounce back in their remaining group matches against Russia in Lille on Wednesday and England in Saint-Etienne on June 20.

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