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Page last updated at 20:04 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 21:04 UK

Toshack urges youngsters to learn

John Toshack
John Toshack's Wales squad included six under-21 internationals

John Toshack has told his courageous Welsh youngsters to learn from their gut-wrenching defeat in Russia.

Plucky Wales came within nine minutes of earning a creditable draw in Moscow until sub Pavel Pogrebnyak's winner cruelly dashed their hopes.

But the Wales boss said: "Our young lads will be better for that, it's a tough lesson but we have to learn.

"I felt sorry for the lads because we deserved something but it's no disgrace losing to the Russians in Moscow."

Gareth Bale should have given Wales a shock lead in the Lokomotiv Stadium when the Tottenham Hotspur full-back won a penalty after skipper Sergei Semak tripped him.

But Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved the teenager's effort.

Bale's new Spurs colleague Roman Pavlyuchenko punished him five minutes later when he converted his spot-kick after Carl Robinson brought down Yuri Zhirkov in the box.

Joe Ledley's 67th minute goal gave Wales belief but Pogrebnyak's 81st minute winner brought their dreams crashing back down to earth.

"A draw would have been a great result in the circumstances," said Toshack.

"They are one of Europe's top four sides and we've got an injury list as long as your arm.

"If this had been a boxing match, we would have lost on a split decision.

"Bale, Chris Gunter, Ched Evans, Sam Vokes, Ledley etc are all young boys who will now know, against the best teams, he who hesitates has lost.

"We didn't get tight to them often enough and they hit us hard.

"We deserved a point and I feel for the lads.

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"I didn't feel sorry at half-time and I told them so but I did at full-time, maybe they felt sorry for me at half-time because I gave them some strong words.

"We got hold of ourselves after the break and to come so close to a point and not get one is bitterly disappointing."

Captain Simon Davies was proud of Wales' second-half battling display but said: "We gave them too much respect in the first half.

"If we want to compete against the best sides in Europe we must impose ourselves more on them and have a little more belief if we are to have a chance.

"We cannot get overawed by the occasion but our second-half showing tells us that we're good enough to compete when we put our minds to it.

"Scoring from the penalty would have given us something to hang on to and give the lads a bit more heart.

"Going in 1-0 down at half-time was hard to come back but we dug in, came back and to lose it at the end was very, very hard to take.

"But when we played our game, got up the pitch and got at them a bit even Russia found it difficult."

Toshack added: "Their winner was a sloppy goal to concede as Andrei Arshavin was allowed to come too close and cross, we didn't clear the ball as we as we should and Pogrebnyak's shot went through the legs of Ashley Williams and Wayne Hennessey.

"After Bale's penalty miss, we dropped our heads a little because we are still an inexperienced side but otherwise Bale was outstanding again.

"We've now missed two penalties in two games and lost this game to a penalty kick but in Bale and Jason Koumas, who missed against Azerbaijan, we've got two very good dead ball specialists. They were just unfortunate."

Wales are third in 2010 World Cup qualifying group four with three points on Wednesday after the Germans were held 3-3 by Finland in Helsinki while Azerbaijan and Liechtenstein ended goalless.

Toshack's team host Liechtenstein before travelling to Euro 2008 finalists Germany in next month's double-header.

The Wales boss will hope first-choice strikers Craig Bellamy and Freddy Eastwood and creative midfielder Jason Koumas will have recovered from niggles for the October matches.

"Our injury problems are well-documented," said Toshack.

"We've also had the heart of our defence ripped out so hopefully at least two of those centre-backs will be fit, I am hopeful on James Collins and Lewin Nyatanga.

"Danny Gabbidon, though, will not be available for us until the new year."


see also
Russia 2-1 Wales
10 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Hiddink ignores Tottenham request
09 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Parry 'just made up the numbers'
08 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Parry in shock Wales retirement
08 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Ricketts doubtful for Russia game
09 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Gunter's warning to new Spurs pal
07 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Wales 1-0 Azerbaijan
06 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals
International tables
26 Nov 07 |  Tables
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Internationals
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales


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