Always The Bridesmaid 6

Monday, 10 July 2000, 0:00
2 mins read

Wales started the second half with a passion not witnessed before and the reward arrived on the hour when Saunders equalised. Continuous Welsh pressure paid off with a penalty kick being awarded -qualification was now assured. Paul Bodin stepped up to take his place in Welsh football history. When his kick hit the cross bar, his in history was assured, but for the wrong reason. The silence was deafening and a feeling of disbelief filled the ground. The Romanian’s had been reeling under the constant Welsh pressure, knew that they had been let off the hook. Wales searched in vain for the winner, and it was almost inevitable that the Romanians would score a goal, which duly arrived when Raduciou scored in the 82nd When the final whistle blew, I saw grown men cry. Again, it to be for Wales. Feelings of despair at the result were soon put in perspective with that an elderly man had died when he was hit by a distress flare at the match. If ever Bill Shankly’s comment had a hollow ring, it occasion- football is not more important than life.

Since that fateful night, the fortunes of Welsh football have been in The disgraceful treatment of Terry Yorath by the Welsh FA many supporters wondering if the powers that be in Welsh really want success at international level or if they use their to settle old scores. Yorath never appeared to be popular with the FAW and when the opportunity to get rid of him came, they contract was not renewed and John Toshack took over.

Toshack needed only one game, against Norway in March 1994, to was not well with Welsh football. He claimed that he was informed of the circumstances surrounding Yorath’s resigned to leave Mike Smith to lead Wales for the Euro ’96 qualification programme. The programme was a disaster with embarrass against Georgia home and away and Moldova away.

Wales had become the whipping boys of the group. Smith did not see out the programme, being replaced by Barry Gould following the it by Georgia. The appointment of Gould hardly inspired there were other bigger names to choose from but they were ignored.

Wales suffered their heaviest defeat in over 60 years when they in Holland. Another heavy defeat in Turkey has done little to restore confidence. In FIFA’s world ranking, Wales are 100. It is painful to say, but Bobby Gould appears to be out of his depth at international level.

Wales has the players, like Giggs and Hartson, but the squad recently included a League of Wales players, suggesting that there is hardly any strength in depth with the system. How much longer will Wales have to wait to make their mark at international level? It is time to be at the top table of international football and time to forget the near misses, bad refereeing decisions and missed penalties. It must be time to achieve at international level. Being honest, the situation can hardly get any worse than it is now, and this without a real home to play in and Italy for good measure. Too daunting for even the most optimistic of Welshmen, surely?

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“Come on Cymru” and “Come on Cymru 2000” are available to order on-line from http://www.sigmapress.co.uk .

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Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.
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