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Bellamy writes off Wales´s World Cup hopes

28 March 2009 19:25

CARDIFF (AFP) - Wales captain Craig Bellamy said his side do not have a "glimmer of hope" of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa after a 2-0 loss at home to Finland here on Saturday.

Former Charlton forward Jonatan Johansson put the Finns ahead in the 42nd minute after he was played in by Jari Litmanen, once of Liverpool.

Substitute Shefki Kuqi made sure of victory when he struck in the second minute of stoppage time at the Millennium Stadium.

Defeat left Wales, who haven't appeared in the finals of a major tournament since the 1958 World Cup, down in fourth place in the Europe zone group four qualifying pool, ahead of Wednesday's clash with football giants Germany.

"That was two poor sides trying to contest this game and neither of us have got a glimmer of hope of qualifying," dejected Manchester City striker Bellamy told Sky Sports.

"That is a fact, from what I've just seen today."

"Where we go from here, God knows. We've just got a lot of games to play and get as many points as we can but same old story, we're out of the group.

"They are not a good side. I do feel we are the better side even though we have just lost. They sucker-punched us really. It was just poor to be honest."

But Wales manager John Toshack insisted all was not lost for his largely young team.

"I'm obviously disappointed. They were an experienced side and kept the ball very well," Toshack said.

"During the second period it got more and more difficult against very experienced players.

"It was a must-win for either side in a group where we have drawn the short straw facing Germany and Russia, two of the best teams in Europe.

"But we can pick ourselves up, we have done it in the past. We can recover from this with five games left," the former Liverpool and Wales striker added.

"I'm not angry, I try to understand why people cannot perform as well as they can. But they are very upset, they don't need to be told.

"We controlled the game at times but did not have the cutting edge."

Toshack added: "We do not have a nucleus of experienced players, like the 30-plus players they had.

"The youngsters cannot buy experience. Some of them have got nearly 20 caps but they are not playing at their clubs."

Stuart Baxter, Finland's English manager, was pleased with his team's display and in particular the performance of veteran midfielder Litmanen.

"That was a very good performance and I was pleased that there were 2,000 Finnish fans here to see it," Baxter said.

"Jari was outstanding, he is in the process of re-inventing himself at 38. He may not be able to do the runs he used to a few years ago, but he can still pass the ball and he dominated the game.

"He is an amazing person. He has been a great servant to Finnish football, a great player."

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