Football: Wales aim for hatful of goals

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The Independent Online
MARK HUGHES, the Wales striker, said yesterday that all he knew about the Faroe Islands, whom Terry Yorath's side meet in a World Cup qualifier in Cardiff tonight, was 'their keeper has a bobble hat'. He is right, of course, but the fishermen and washing- machine repair men of the North Atlantic outpost know all about Hughes and Co, probably down to which hat size they take. 'They are our idols,' Joanes Jakobsen, the Faroese captain, said.

These idols have had feet of clay in front of goal recently. Two goals in their last four matches - three of which were defeats - is a poor return from forwards like Hughes, Ian Rush and Dean Saunders - 'three of the best strikers in the world', according to the Welsh captain, Barry Horne.

With attacking players like these three, plus the likes of Gary Speed, Ryan Giggs and David Phillips, goals should not be a problem for Wales against a Faroese defence which has conceded 12 in their three qualifiers. Their bobble-hatted goalkeeper, Jens Martin Knudsen, works in a fish factory, so a broken net will be nothing new.

'The main priority is to win and get the two points,' Yorath said. But a healthy haul of goals would not only help Wales's poor goal difference, it would restore confidence after the 5-1 defeat in their opening qualifier, in Romania.

The Faroese expect their idols to come at them from every quarter. 'The reason we play a five- man defence is because every team we meet play five attackers,' Knudsen, who performed heroics in the 1-0 defeat of Austria two years ago, said.

Wales will also operate a sweeper system, Clayton Blackmore displaying his versatility by slotting in behind Eric Young and Kit Symons. Yorath said: 'Clayton will have a licence to move forward with the ball.' The Faroese will battle hard, but Yorath might just have given Wales a licence to thrill.

WALES (from): Southall (Everton); Phillips (Norwich City), Young (Crystal Palace), Symons (Portsmouth), Melville (Oxford United), Bodin (Swindon Town), Bowen (Norwich City), Blackmore (Manchester United), Speed (Leeds United), Horne (Everton), Pembridge (Derby County), Hughes (Manchester United), Saunders (Liverpool), Rush (Liverpool), Giggs (Manchester United).

FAROE ISLANDS (from): Knudsen (GI); Jakobsen (VB), Danielsen (MB), T Hansen (B36), Dam (HB), Morkore (KI), Simonsen (B36), O Hansen (B68), Jonsson (K1), Reynheim (B36), Mortensen (TB), Johannesen (TB), Justiniussen (GI), Arge (HB), Muller (AGF Aarhus).

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