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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 14:04 GMT
Wales get tough Euro 2008 start
Wales manager John Toshack
Toshack wanted to start the group with a tough away game
Wales will begin their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign away against top Group D seeds the Czech Republic on Saturday, 2 September this year.

John Toshack's side will then play two successive home games against Slovakia (7 October) and Cyprus (11 October).

They will then face the Republic of Ireland in March, the first competitive football match at Dublin's Croke Park.

The Irish will come to Cardiff in November, four days before Wales end their campaign away in Germany.

Wales will have three successive home games midway through the campaign against San Marino (28 March), the Czech Republic (2 June) and Germany (8 September).

But four of their last five games will be away as they travel to Slovakia (12 September), Cyprus (13 October) and San Marino (17 October) before the finale with the Germans on 21 November.

I am very pleased overall - if you had given me these fixtures at the start of the day, I would have signed-up straight away
Wales manager John Toshack

Toshack met all the other Group D managers in Germany on Thursday to bargain over the fixture schedule.

He had wanted to avoid home games in September this year because Cardiff's Millennium Stadium is unavailable because of a Rolling Stones concert.

"It really was a very tense meeting at times, and I honestly thought we would not get a resolution," said Toshack.

"The Slovaks seemed to have the most issued, but also Cyprus, and for a short while the meeting was suspended for everyone to take stock of the situation.

"In the end it was agreed to try for one more hour and the Slovaks eventually agreed to change a fixture and it then all fell in to place".

"I am very pleased overall - if you had given me these fixtures at the start of the day, I would have signed-up straight away.

"I was keen to take the team to either Germany of the Czech Republic to begin the campaign, and only to have one match in September.

"With two home games on the bounce in October, it gives us a chance to get further points on the board before a long break until March 2007."

Toshack, who has lost the experience of John Hartson to international retirement, will name a squad next week for the 1 March friendly with Paraguay.

It is expected to include teenagers David Cotterill (Bristol City), Lewin Nyatanga (Derby), Joe Ledley (Cardiff) and Mark Jones (Wrexham) in the youngest Wales squad for decades.

Wales' Euro 2008 fixtures:

Czech Republic v Wales (2 September)
Wales v Slovakia (7 October)
Wales v Cyprus (11 October)
Republic of Ireland v Wales (24 March)
Wales v San Marino (28 March)
Wales v Czech Republic (2 June)
Wales v Germany (8 September)
Slovakia v Wales (12 September)
Cyprus v Wales (13 October)
San Marino v Wales (17 October)
Wales v Republic of Ireland (17 November)
Germany v Wales (21 November)

Matthew Jones column
27 Jan 06 |  Internationals
Toshack happy with Wales' group
27 Jan 06 |  Internationals


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