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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 21:43 GMT
Wales 4-0 Liechtenstein
Jason Koumas (centre)
Wales' Jason Koumas struck twice with fine long-range efforts
Wales enjoyed the perfect preparation for future Euro 2008 qualifying fixtures, with a comfortable friendly win over Liechtenstein at Wrexham.

Jason Koumas set the pace against a side that Wales boss John Toshack had picked for a similarity to San Marino.

The West Brom midfielder struck twice in the first half, picking his spots to fire home right-footed from long range.

Two more goals followed as Craig Bellamy shot home from close in, before he set up Chris Llewellyn to slot in.

That was the first four-goal haul for Wales under Toshack, and a perfect way for captain Ryan Giggs to celebrate winning his 60th cap.

In contrast it was harsh on new Liechtenstein manager Urs Meier, in charge for the first time.

Wales could have been an early goal down at the Racecourse Ground, but Thomas Beck could not take a high, defence-splitting pass in his stride.

The hosts made light of that early danger and, with eight minutes played, punished Liechtenstein for not closing down quickly enough.

Koumas cut inside off the left flank, skipping over an attempted tackle before curling a beautifully weighted right-foot shot in off the far post from 25 yards.

"A lot of players came in and did well and it's always nice to get a win

Wales striker Craig Bellamy

Liechtenstein goalkeeper Peter Jehle was given no chance by the Wrexham-born midfielder's accuracy, but did brilliantly three minutes later to deny Bellamy.

The Liverpool frontman bamboozled Martin Telser, who had already been booked for hacking Bellamy down, and bore down on Jehle.

But the Boavista keeper managed to get his left hand to Bellamy's shot, pushing it onto the post before gratefully gathering the kind rebound.

Yet within a minute Wales were two up as Giggs, drifting to his natural left flank, played a square ball for Koumas to rifle home from the edge of the area.

The waves of red shirts continued to bear down on the Liechtenstein goal, with the front two both going just inches wide.

First Bellamy fired into the side netting after being set free by Koumas' perceptive pass, then Rob Earnshaw just failed to connect with Bellamy's cross from six yards out.

Liechtenstein were still a threat on the counter and Beck broke clear when Sam Ricketts and Lewin Nyatanga got into a muddle on Wales' left flank.

Jason Brown was swiftly off his line and got a finger-tip to the ball as Beck tried to lob the advancing Wales goalkeeper.

But mostly it was Liechtenstein being forced to defend deep to combat a pacy Wales attack.

That gave rein for the Wales defenders to join in some of the fun, despite the threat of Beck's occasional breaks from the Liechtenstein midfield.

Left-back Ricketts pinged a shot off the crossbar, while debutant central defender Steve Evans showed some pleasing trickery in the left corner to make space for a cross.

Earnshaw poked the ball just wide of the post twice in quick succession, while Christof Ritter almost sliced into his own net trying to clear a cross.

Wales' Jason Koumas struck twice with fine long-range efforts
Wales' Jason Koumas struck twice with fine long-range efforts

But just before half-time Wales were reminded that the game was not safe, when Mario Frick saw an 18-yard effort deflected just wide after his free-kick had been blocked.

Toshack withdrew Giggs and Richard Duffy for the second half, switching from an attacking 4-4-2 to a more solid 5-3-2.

That saw Carl Fletcher arrive to bolster central defence, while Joe Ledley slotted into the left wing-back role and Ricketts switched to the right, Bellamy taking over as captain.

Bellamy and Earnshaw both went close with first-time efforts under pressure, as Wales continued to fire the crosses in.

Koumas had a sniff of his hat-trick, but this time Jehle managed to get his whole body behind another well-struck effort from the West Brom man.

There were plenty of Wrexham fans who had turned up to cheer on their man Evans making his international debut on his home ground.

And the Dragons soon had more to cheer as Llewellyn replaced Earnshaw, while midfielder Mark Jones came on to win his first cap and bring the Wrexham contingent to three.

Jones soon made his mark, playing a one-two that set Bellamy loose into the area to lash home Wales' third goal into the roof of the net.

Llewellyn wrapped things up in the final minute, dropping back intelligently to side-foot home Bellamy's cut-back.

Wales are next in action with another friendly at Belfast's Windsor Park against Northern Ireland on 6 February.

Then Toshack's side continues their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign with a late March double-header against the Republic of Ireland and then San Marino.


Wales: Brown, Duffy (Ledley 46), Nyatanga, Evans, Ricketts, Simon Davies (Craig Davies 85), Robinson (Crofts 80), Koumas (Jones 70), Giggs (Fletcher 46), Bellamy, Earnshaw (Llewellyn 60).
Subs Not Used: Morgan, Ward.

Goals: Koumas 8, 14, Bellamy 77, Llewellyn 90.

Liechtenstein: Jehle, Telser, Hasler, Ritter, Michael Stocklasa, Roger Beck (Kieber 89), Burgmeier, Buechel, D'Elia (Rohrer 60), Ritzberger (. Frick 60), Mario Frick (Buchel 82).
Subs Not Used: Steuble, Oehri.

Booked: Telser.

Att: 8,752.

Ref: Luc Wilmes (Luxembourg).

SEE ALSO
Toshack delight at Koumas display
15 Nov 06 |  West Bromwich Albion
Wales set up Liechtenstein game
26 Jun 06 |  Internationals
Country profile: Liechtenstein
18 Jun 06 |  Country profiles


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