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Wales World Cup Qualifying Preview 2010

Jul 2, 2008
As usual, it seems Wales find themselves placed in a very difficult World Cup qualification group. Group 4 consists of Wales, Finland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Russia and Azerbaijan. John Toschack and his young Welsh must again do battle with Germany, who they also faced in the Euro 2008 qualifying stages.

The Germans are currently enjoying a good Euro 2008 finals and are of course favourites to qualify as group winners. So, who are the other teams Wales need to worry about as they start on 6th September against Azerbaijan?

The main threat apart from Germany will be Russia. Sport plays a big part of Russian society and football is now being developed domestically to compete with the rich Western European leagues such as the English Premier League and Spains La Liga competition. The Russian players earn very good salaries playing football in the Russian league. It remains to be seen whether manager Gus Hiddink will still be at the helm when qualification begins, but this super talented team can, on their day beat any team in the world thanks to their free flowing attacking football.

So after Russia and Germany that leaves Finland. Under new coach Stuart Baxter, Finland are a team on the up. They have some good young players that blend perfectly with seasoned professionals such as Liverpools Sammi Hyypia. Wales will do well to pick up points against Finland.

There is a growing feeling amongst football supporters in Wales that the younger generation of footballing talent should give the Wales national team a timely boost just in time for the qualification matches.

The two remaining teams in the group are Liechtenstein and Azerbaijan. If Wales are to progress to the finals it is imperative that they rack up the points against these minnows of world football. Home wins will not be enough, the Welsh must travel away from home and win if they are to challenge the best teams, Russia and Germany.

For the football neutrals, the best players on show are always worth mentioning. Andrei Arshavin, the Russian playmaker is earning rave reviews at Euro 2008, for Germany it will be the usual high profile players of Michael Ballack, and Lucas Podolski that will catch the eye and Welsh fans will be relying on their charismatic captain, Craig Bellamy to inspire the rest of the Welsh team.

Although lacking in world class talent, Finland, Liechtenstien and Azerbaijan all have technically gifted players, and of course there will be new talent that emerge from these teams. It is worth remembering that many of these players will want to perform well not only because they are playing for national pride but also they can secure a lucrative transfer to one of Europes top teams if they perform well.

To summarise, Wales will have to punch above their weight to earn qualification for South Africa World Cup 2010. Their experienced manager, John Toschack will have to use all of his motivational and technical skills to get the best out of an average team but with terrific home and away support, Welsh fans will be hopeful of a successful campaign.
About the Author
Martin is a sports writer and football fan who watches Wales on Setanta tv and subscribes to his favourite satellite tv sports broadcaster, Setanta.
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