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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August, 2004, 20:23 GMT 21:23 UK
Big hitters strike home
By Ian Walsh
Former Wales forward

Mark Hughes couldn't have asked for more from a friendly than the 2-0 win in Latvia.

Craig Bellamy
If Wales are going to play two up front they have to be Craig Bellamy and John Hartson
It was competitive, played at a good tempo, Wales scored goals and kept a clean sheet.

The fitness levels showed, especially with the movement off the ball and unselfish running in the second half, and they gelled as a team in the new 4-4-2 formation.

What is more, the big hitters have come out and performed to such a level that there is no chance of Mark Hughes leaving them out.

The younger squad members impressed at the end of last season and there was a lot of talk about Rob Earnshaw and all his goals.

But, on the Latvia performance, if Wales are going to play two up front they have to be Craig Bellamy and John Hartson.

There is the possibility of changing one or two other things, but those two have had a great preparation for the World Cup games in September and have shown that they will always be a threat.

The good thing is that Mark Hughes has opportunities and choices throughout his squad.

For Wales to be successful we have to have our strongest players fit and available, but we have got young players coming through and delivering.

Jason Koumas
Jason Koumas came into a good game in the second half
In defence, James Collins and Robert Page did well, Ben Thatcher gives an edge down the left-hand side and you have the cool, calm and collected Mark Delaney on the right.

Ahead of them, Mark Pembridge did well to come back after such a long lay-off, while Gary Speed and Robbie Savage were competitive.

I thought that Jason Koumas came into a good game in the second half, showing a lot of ability and skill down the right and combining well with Delaney.

Then there's Ryan Giggs to come back for the third game!

The Latvia match is history now, though. It will give an extra bit of confidence, we can say well done, but all the focus must be on Azerbaijan on 4 September.

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