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Monday, 18 November, 2002, 10:31 GMT
How far can Wales go?
Wales extend their lead at the top of Euro 2004 Group Nine to five points with a 2-0 win in Azerbaijan.
Can Wales continue their winning form?
It was a stroll to victory, as Azerbaijan were added to the list of Wales' Euro 2004 victims that already includes Finland and Italy.
Goals from Gary Speed and John Hartson in each half were enough to put Wales top of their group.
And their professional performance was indicative of the new era Wales are enjoying under Mark Hughes.
E-mail your reaction to the match.
They need a convincing win at home next game to keep the confidence going, then who would bet against them getting something from the games against Yugoslavia and Italy?
Paul Jones is our keeper, Andy Melville is our Sweeper, ryan Giggs is our winger, Hughesy is the king.
Robbie Savage kicks them, Mark Pembridge lifts them, Simon Davies runs and runs and Johny Hartson scores them.
Mark Delaney, Craig Bellamy were going to go to euro glory, Garry Speed will lift the trophy Hughesy is our king. Tune: to Men of Harlech!
Well done Wales. They have done all they have been asked, but hold on...they have to travel to Italy and Yugoslavia. If they can get something from one of those matches they can start celebrating.
I hope they can do it - well done Mark Hughes for turning Wales into a team that is being recognised as one of the most improved in Europe.
Mark Hughes has built a solid squad and the professionalism and discipline has come a long way under Sparky. Previously we would have done well to get a draw away to teams like Azerbaijan.
Yugoslavia and Italy will be a big test for Wales but the team spirit is good and the work rate of each player even better. See you all in Portugal 2004.
That's Finland, Italy and now Azerbaijan...oh yeah and Fifa, the Premiership clubs...Next stop Portugal 2004.
There is still a long way to go yet but I don't see why, with a five-point advantage they shouldn't at least make the play-offs or even win the group.
If they keep playing this well and consistently then they could at least take a point in Italy, and Yugoslavia and Croatia are defensively weak, tending to fall over like a pack of cards once they go behind.
They need to believe that they can win and avoid too many injuries, then they can give it a real shot. If doubt creeps in, the Balkan teams will roll all over them.
As an exile, it is great to be able to hold my head high again about my football team. The work Hughes has done in organising the team has been fantastic and he plays a system that best utilises our limited resources.
I think we will certainly get into the play-offs but the two Yugoslavia games are the crucial ones - we need to get four points from them.
Wales' first team is as good as anyone in Europe. Apart from France no team has the pace of Bellamy, Delaney, Giggs, Davies and Earnshaw. Our wingers are as good as any in the world.
Hartson and Speed are as good as anyone in the air. Our defence has let in two goals in three goals in eight games against real top quality teams and we always score goals.
Do not doubt us, we don't have the greatest strength in depth, but for a very small country we are producing world-class players.
Wales haven't got the legs to see this all the way through. Although Mark Hughes is doing a great job, I can't see Wales getting any more points from Italy or Yugoslavia.
They may get lucky and get a play-off spot but even then, I don't think they have the experience to win such a big game over two legs. Maybe next time.
Well done boys! Keep your concentration and there's no reason we can't qualify. Thanks too for all the English wishes of good luck - though we'll still beat you in the Finals!
It's all thanks to the Magpie Gary Speed - what a legend! Gary Speed doesn't get the credit he deserves for being a top-class defensive midfielder and a goalscorer- for Newcastle and Wales. Well done Gary.
Well done Wales! After showing true passion and skill against Italy, Wales proved on Wednesday night that they have the other qualities needed to compete on the world stage: discipline and professionalism.
I suppose that every English person with a Welsh second cousin or great grandparent will claim to be Welsh now! But, though ironic, if that means Wales get the exposure and support they deserve, it can only be a good thing.
To the poetry in our blood, music in our souls and rugby in hearts, we must now add football! You've done us proud boys...please get us to Portugal, so the whole of Cymru can have a holiday!!!
Wales can go all the way so long as they stick with big John Hartson.
There's no reason why Wales can't qualify for and do well in the Euro 2004 finals. They seem to have that extra spirit that has taken Irish teams past their official potential and has been missing from England teams whose squads are always affected by terrible knee injuries that magically clear up in time for Liverpool or Man Utd's next game.
Those away games against Yugoslavia and Italy (games five and six out of eight) are the vital ones. If Cymru can come away with even a draw from each of these matches then we are on are way to automatic qualification.
But remember - five matches to go can earn 15 points and glory, or none and the same old result!
We were excellent on Wednesday evening. Two years ago we'd have lost this game. The improvement under Hughes is remarkable. It's also good to see young players from Welsh clubs in the squad.
Shaggy and Earnie playing was great, but it was good to see the Jack Thomas in the squad too.
If we beat the Azzurri at home then I think we will be sure of second place at least. To be honest I'd settle for a play-off against England as I'm certain we'd win. Hywl.
Congratulations Wales. A great start to the Euro campaign, I hope both England and Wales can make it to the finals.
Another excellent result. This could have been a really tricky game but we turned in a professional performance and got the three points that we thouroughly deserved. We have a magnificent squad of players who want to play for each other and their country. We should all be proud as a nation.
Not wishing to get too excited yet, having been there in the mid-80s when a strong team beat Spain 3-0 at the Racecourse...but another superb result nonetheless. Given continued spirited performances like today, it is possible that this time we'll go all the way.
I am really pleased to see John Hartson do as well for Wales as he does for Celtic. He has been waiting patiently for a run in the Celtic team and has shown what a great professional he his. At this rate Wales can top their group.
Yet another fantastic result under the guidance of "Sparky". He has given the players the confidence in their own ability to produce a great run of form. May it long continue.
Good so far but they will surely have to beat Yugoslavia on the final game.
Of course we will qualify. We have the best side we have had for years. Hughes is doing well and we have always had a good team spirit. Now with us getting the results people are talking about us and we like it. Roll on Euro 2004, we want England.
'Ave it! Another game, another win for Sparky's Army! Wales the most consistent performer of the home nations? Don't you doubt it! Euro 2004, here come the boyos! England who? You lot can will be cheering for us come 2004 as it looks like we'll be the only home team there!
Despite being without our best midfielder and best striker, Wales still produced an impressive professional performance. Well done boys! It's in our hands now.
Wales have really impressed me recently after their victory in Azerbaijan. Their professionalism and passion has been recreated after the appointment of Mark Hughes and they are on the verge of qualification.
A couple of years ago, they would have struggled to beat Azerbaijan but with this win it shows how far improved they are under Hughes' guidance. It's nice to see them playing excellent football after years of disappointment.
Wales just keep getting better and better! As an Englishman it's a bitter pill to swallow, but Wales have something that the English have not had for a long while, team spirit and players that work for each other.
Well done to Wales for pulling off another great victory, one that England would no doubt have drawn!
Still at least we're all doing better than the Scots.......! Hee Hee!
Another fine result but there were a few slack moments. Keep it tight boys, and focused. Bring the glory home!
Surely it's far too early to get carried away yet... Can anyone see Italy dropping many points in the rest of their fixtures? But that said at least we're hard to beat and playing as a team again, and that'll take us a long way.
Wales showed today that despite injuries we have the heart to win through to Portugal 2004. If the player's keep their heads down, continue to play to their strengths and listen to Hughes' management we'll qualify for our first European Championships!
What's all this talk about Wales winning Euro 2004 or getting to the quarter-finals!!! They have to get there first! Remember they've still got two hard games against Yugoslavia to come and Italy away won't exactly be a piece of cake!
It's early days but Sparky has certainly got a team worthy of the euro champs!! I think they need to teach England a lesson in playing football!!
A good all-round professional job, given our injuries. Mark Hughes is creating a camaraderie of a pool of players, all prepared to play for each other. We've had several false dawns in the past, but we've got reason to feel encouraged that we can qualify from this hard group.
As long as we have momentum & can steer free of injuries especially against Yugoslavia & Italy - we could be sampling some vintage Port very soon!!
Well done boys. Yet another brilliant result under the guidance of Mark Hughes. It makes me a proud Welshman living in England!
We need to hold it together and get a result against Yugoslavia and then Portugal here we come.
Excellent result and performance. They can go all the way to Portugal if they keep playing like that!
They will top the group and win the European Championships. No country in Europe has wingers as good as Giggs and Davies.
I think Wales can make the quarter-finals of Euro 2004.
I am very pleased to see Wales doing well, especially since they have only qualified for a major championship once. I think the key matches for them will be Yugoslavia away and Finland at home.
With good results in those matches then they can forget about needing anything from the Italy game. Good luck Wales.
15 Nov 02 | Wales
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