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Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Sunday, 12 October 2008 17:16 UK

Bellamy bemoans Millennium pitch

Craig Bellamy shows his despair at his penalty miss
Craig Bellamy led the criticism of the Millennium Stadium

Wales captain Craig Bellamy slammed the facilities and pitch at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium after the 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Liechtenstein.

"It's not the greatest pitch, it's a rugby pitch, they don't look after us at all here," Bellamy told BBC Sport.

"Games like this there's no atmosphere in the crowd. No disrespect to the 12,500 who turned out but with an empty arena we have to generate our own.

"No excuses, though, we know that we have to do better."

We will seek to address any concerns raised by the event owner and hope to work together to reach a satisfactory conclusion

WRU statement on the stadium
Bellamy's criticism of the 72,500-capacity, Welsh Rugby Union-owned Millennium Stadium pitch was echoed by manager John Toshack and other members of the team.

The Wales boss was angered before last month's opening World Cup game against Azerbaijan as the removal of the portable pitch for a Madonna concert at the stadium left the playing surface bare in the week of the game, disrupting his training plans.

At the start of the qualifying campaign, Toshack asked the Football Association of Wales to consider moving games to smaller venues around Wales to generate more atmosphere.

Wrexham's Racecourse ground, Cardiff's Ninian Park and Swansea's Liberty Stadium were the touted alternatives, the latter the largest at 20,000 capacity.

The FAW are understood to have a 25-year deal for the use of the Millennium Stadium, but this does not tie them exclusively into playing every game there.

606: DEBATE
The WRU issued the following statement after the criticism: "The WRU is the proud owner of one of the most highly regarded, versatile multi sport and event venues in the world.

"It has been well documented that we must work hard to maintain the high standards of a playing surface that has been graced by, and appreciated by, some of the greatest sports teams from around the globe.

"Much progress has been made and a series of measures including a new lighting system which aids root growth have, as recently as this year's Six Nations tournament, led to observations that our surface is better than ever.

"We will, of course, seek to address any concerns raised by the event owner in this instance and hope to work together to reach a satisfactory conclusion for all."

Despite his concerns about the pitch, Bellamy was happy to have sneaked the win over Liechtenstein.

"It could have been more convincing, I missed the penalty, but at the end of the day it's a win," he said after his first start for nearly a year.

"I needed my 80 minutes, it felt like my first start for nearly a year, I hope to get a good run in now.

"If I hadn't got that under my belt it would have been difficult for me to start against Germany on Wednesday."

The West Ham striker's first-half penalty miss was the third Wales spot-kick miss by three different players in the last three qualifying matches.

"If we get a penalty against Germany I don't know who'll take it yet," Bellamy told BBC Sport Wales.

"I've been lucky in my career in that I've always played in sides with better penalty takers than me.

I was thrilled to get my first goal, hopefully there are more to come

Wales midfielder David Edwards
"Jason Koumas was fancying a go in this game, I'm sure he'll want to step up if we have a chance in Germany."

Wolves midfielder David Edwards opened the scoring at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium with his first international strike.

"We made hard work of it, but it was great to get that win for the team," said the man-of-the-match.

"We played nowhere near our potential, we have to be a lot quicker and much less sloppy.

"I was thrilled to get my first goal, hopefully there are more to come."


see also
Iwelumo vows to shake off howler
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Wales 2-0 Liechtenstein
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
World Cup qualifying as it happened
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
World Cup qualifying photos
11 Oct 08 |  Football
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
Pick your Wales XI
10 Sep 07 |  Internationals


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