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Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 14:43 UK

Wales upbeat over World Cup foes

Michael Ballack celebrates a goal for Euro 2008 finalists Germany
Michael Ballack celebrates a goal for Euro 2008 finalists Germany

Wales' assistant coach Dean Saunders is unfazed at the prospect of facing Germany and Russia away in World Cup qualifying this autumn.

Germany reached the final of Euro 2008 while Russia impressed before falling to champions Spain in the semi-final.

But Saunders insists that Wales need not be fearful against such teams.

"We've proved that we can go to Germany and get results, while Russia leaked seven goals in two games against Spain, that must give hope," said Saunders.

"Russia improved after their first game against Spain, they got back their best players and looked such a good technical side, they'll be difficult to play against.

"Germany made the final so they're obviously a very good team, but they looked very average against Spain.

"The only way for us to get easier qualifying groups in the future is by winning these sort of games and climbing the world rankings."

Wales face Georgia in a friendly in Swansea on 20 August, before opening their World Cup qualifying campaign against Azerbaijan at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 6 September.

They travel to Russia - the venue still to be decided - on 10 September, welcome Liechtenstein to Cardiff on 11 October, then travel to Borussia Park, Monchengladbach, to face Germany four days later.

606: DEBATE

Finland are also in their group, the first game with them coming in Cardiff on 28 March.

Wales were boosted on the weekend with news that their first choice centre-backs - West Ham's Danny Gabbidon and James Collins - could be back in contention by the time of the qualifiers after long-term injuries.

"The hardest thing for us is getting everybody fit," said former Wales striker Saunders.

"We've had a lot of key men out with long-term injuries, so hopefully they'll be back.

"I'm really looking forward to the campaign, if we get everybody fit we can do well."



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see also
Germany 0-1 Spain
07 Jul 10 |  Euro 2008
Russia 0-3 Spain
26 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Collins eyes shock Wales recall
28 Jun 08 |  Welsh
Wales wait on Russia venue news
19 Jun 08 |  Welsh
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Welsh
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
24 Dec 06 |  Wales


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