Bellamy breaks deadlock to lift Welsh ambition

Denmark 0 Wales 1
Click to follow

On a night that was supposed to be all about the Wales youngsters – and in particular about the 17-year-old debutant Aaron Ramsey – Craig Bellamy showed there is fire left yet in the more senior Dragons. It was the captain's second-half goal which gave John Toshack's side a morale-boosting victory in Copenhagen.

The boos which rang out at the end in the Brondby Stadium were music to the ears of the Wales manager. Toshack had witnessed a team packed with Under-21s outplay Denmark, especially in the first half, and gain a fully deserved win to take into the next raft of World Cup qualifiers.

The home fans went away feeling aggrieved that an equaliser did not arrive at the death, first when Boaz Myhill produced a fine reflex save off Martin Vingaard, and then when Soren Larsen hit the woodwork. Yet by then Wales could have been two or three to the good.

As it was, they only had Bellamy's strike in the 77th minute to show for the many chances they created. It had been 10 years since the Cardiffian scored the winning goal for Bobby Gould's Wales in the same capital and history duly repeated itself. Toshack asked Bellamy to play far deeper than usual and the 29-year-old obliged with an all-action performance.

The West Ham striker popped up everywhere and although his goal hardly came off the sweet spot – "it was a scrappy effort," admitted Bellamy – it was still good enough to beat Stoke's Thomas Sorensen from 20 yards.

At that stage, the friendly appeared destined for a draw. In the opening spell Ched Evans and Bellamy had a couple of golden opportunities, while the latter went for the net when Ramsey was unmarked and with the goal at his mercy. The Arsenal midfielder began the match well, as did West Ham's Jack Collison, his fellow teenager, but they were inevitably to fade on the sticky surface.

Denmark came back into it and might have taken the advantage when Leon Andreasen shot over the bar. But Bellamy had other ideas as did Myhill, the Hull goalkeeper.

Toshack's delight was obvious. "We had four or five really good chances and Boaz made two great saves, so we must be pleased," the manager said. "The youngsters did well. Denmark are top of their qualifying group and did not expect to be beaten here. They put us under pressure in the second half, and we rode our luck, but if you look at the 90 minutes we deserved he win."

Denmark: Sorensen; Bogelund, Agger, Rasmussen, Kroldrup, Kristensen, Norregaard, Nordstrand, Krohn-Delhi, Bendtner, Rommedahl. Substitutes: Andersen (gk), Mtiliga, Jorgensen, Andreasen, Retov, Vingaard, Ilso, Larsen.

Wales: Myhill (Hull City); Gunter (Tottenham), Williams (Swansea), Collins (West Ham), Bale (Tottenham), Edwards (Wolves), Ramsey (Arsenal), Nyatanga (Derby), Collison (West Ham), Bellamy (West Ham), Evans (Manchester City). Substitutes: Hennessey (gk, (Wolves), Tudur-Jones (Swansea), Blake (Cardiff), Ricketts (Hull), Morgan (Peterborough), Eardley (Oldham), Vokes (Wolves).

Referee: M Weiner (Germany).

Comments