Gareth Bale has taken the first shot ahead of the Battle of Britain clash between Wales and England on Thursday saying that “England big themselves up”.

Bale will be the talisman for Wales as they head to a major competition for the first time in 50 years, and meet Slovakia later today. The Real Madrid forward believes England overhype themselves before a tournament.

“England big themselves up before they’ve done anything, so we’re going to go there and we believe we can beat them,” said Bale.

“For me it is probably the stand-out game in the group stages, but there is no pressure on us because they believe they can beat us.

“I had a chuckle when England came out, I’m not going to lie. It’s an amazing game to be involved in and it’s like any derby, you never want to lose to the enemy.”

Bale also said that Wales display more passion than England, and this was highlighted during the Rugby World Cup last autumn.

“Yes, even in the recent [rugby] World Cup when we won. I remember those. England don’t get that, do they? I think we’ve got a lot more passion and pride about us than them. We’ll definitely show that on the day.

“I don’t know what it is, but if you’re Welsh, we feel more pride and passion than anyone else. Look at the national anthem, everyone sings, the whole stadium.”

Bale said that the fans act as a twelfth man and helped them during the Belgium game when signs of fatigue crept in.

“I remember the Belgium game, we were all tired, and the whole stadium just started singing it. I don’t think any other nation would do that. Being Welsh just brings it out of you.

“It’s like when I was young and being in a pub with my parents, everyone watching rugby or football on the television. Everyone was together, singing. It’s the way we are brought up.”