A sad thought about Wales is that by the turn of the century it will be marooned as a fourth-rate football nation on a par with Cyprus and San Marino

There was a time when if you imagined a Great Britain team there would have been some serious contenders from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Without going too far back in time how about George Best, John Charles, Denis Law, Dave Mackay, Danny Blanchflower, Jim Baxter, Cliff Jones and Ivor Allchurch.

Portugal end Turkish dreams

reports from the City Ground

Turkey and Croatia anxious to impress

Turkey v Croatia Today, City Ground 7.30pm

A proud moment for the under-achievers


Days of despair now a memory: Turkey

1 Adnan Erkan Ankaragucu

Hughes may suffer lengthy ban

Chelsea's fading realisation of European competition next season is likely be suffer another setback today when Mark Hughes, their striker, faces a Football Association commission to explain his burgeoning disciplinary record.

Seedorf puts the Dutch on their way

The Netherlands, the champions in 1988, kept alive their interest in the European Championship with a 3-0 win over Norway in their last Group Five qualifying match in Rotterdam yesterday.



Ferdinand keeps a cool perspective

FA CUP FIFTH ROUND: QPR's coveted striker has a rare sense of football's value. Glenn Moore talked to him `Gerry Francis told me that with belief in myself I could go all the way' `To be involved in the sort of money that is currently being put around is

Arena: Return to the seat of the inferno: 17 Ali Sami Yen stadium: Richard Williams describes Galatasaray's intimidating ground, where Manchester United play this week

'WELCOME to the hell' was the message hand-lettered on the first banner the players and coaching staff of Manchester United saw as they arrived at Ataturk airport, Istanbul, on a sultry night last November. The next day, as Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel played chess on the balcony of a former sultan's palace overlooking the broad blue Bosphorus while their colleagues strolled through the hotel's manicured gardens, they may have thought they had arrived in paradise. But a few hours later, when they trotted on to the turf of Galatasaray's Ali Sami Yen stadium, they knew the truth of which the banner-artist had written.

Football: Wright to lead the line as England are let off the leash: Arsenal striker expectant as Taylor orders Turkey to be taken to the cleaners in preparation for exacting match against the Dutch

GRAHAM TAYLOR has broken with take-each-game-as-it-comes orthodoxy by calling on England to 'thump' Turkey this afternoon, and set themselves up for the more demanding World Cup tie at home to the Netherlands in four weeks' time.
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