Huge anti climax for Wales as World Cup wait drags on.

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10 Responses to Huge anti climax for Wales as World Cup wait drags on.

  1. Anthony O'Brien says:


    Your bullet points provide a brilliant summary of what went wrong last night, I was not going to mention the errors which led to Ireland’s goal, but as you have named names, I’d like to add that — as Princess Diana once memorably remarked – – there was a third person in her marriage. This may or may not have been the case, but there was certainly a third person to be considered in why the goal happened, and that was our left back who suddenly stopped running instead of chasing hard to confront the Irish player who rushed down the left touchline and crossed the killer ball into the middle. But finger-pointing is a pointless exercise, as Hillary Clinton is finding out in her latest ghost-written book, What Happened. (Talking of ghosts, I wonder who will quite rightly be “berating” our goalkeeper for not kicking the ball upfield?)

    Not so long ago the Welsh team (and fans) were in a dark tunnel with apparently little hope of digging through to World Cup qualification. Last night, there was light at the end of the tunnel Then the rockfall of an Irish goal took place and the light soon went out. But the tunnel is still there to be tackled, young stars are beginning to shine, and we must continue to keep going forward and aim for the light which is still glimmering somewhere. In the words of an old cliché. Hope springs eternal,

  2. Clive Rymon says:

    Hi Paul,well written report as usual.I think the damage was done earlier in the campaign with all those draws from winning positions.It has always been frustrating that when games come along in competitions we miss key players through injury or suspensions with no suitable replacements of the players they replace,being a small country it’s something we have had to live with.

    As to last night game I thought about Warnock comments about travelling and I remember when the fixtures were announced for this campaign and thought if the last game depends on a result there could be a fatigue issue there,I’m not using it as an excuse but the point you made about same mabey explained that it was always going to be a factor in the game.

    I would like to give special mention to a player who I personally think is one of best midfield players our country has had namely Allen,and when he was mugged last night and had to be replaced our chances of winning the game went with him,and also a special mention for the crowd for there rendition of the anthem like you I was there and it was spine tingling occasion.So this time it was not to be but all I hope in future that we can find players to step into the shoes of players who’s time in the team is coming to an end and go from strength to strength.

  3. Clive Harry says:

    Morning everyone. After being almost sick with nerves before the game, I was surprised to find myself in a similar mindset to Paul after the game – probably because after Allen had been ‘removed’ from the game our passing, particularly at the back, became more and more pointless. The Irish must have been delighted to sit back and watch our aimless sideways and back efforts. Consequently, I was hoping for no score and other results to go our way until Ireland were gifted their goal thanks to more aimlessness at the back. The fact it was scored by McLean was particularly galling in view of his cowardly tactic of fouling from behind for most of the game. However, if you do need a chuckle this morning, try the WoL player ratings : mostly high praise and 8 or 7 scores (Ramsey an 8 – he was awful!!).
    One of my main concerns afterwards was that players like Brooks and Ampadu have still not been committed – Coleman’s reluctance to play friendlies needs to be set aside and young players integrated to make them more certain of their international future. Finally, I actually think it is time for Coleman to go – not because of failings but managers become stale after a certain time in their job and I think this is now happening. Players such as Williams, Ledley and King need to be phased out and promising youngsters brought in via the medium of the aforementioned friendlies.
    Ah well, roll on Friday and perhaps sight of the ever improving Callum Paterson.

  4. BJA says:

    Good Morning Paul and everyone – So near, and yet…..
    I really did not feel this was a game we were going to lose, even after going behind to some careless defending. I thought for much of the game we were the more inventive, albeit if not able to really penetrate a stubborn Irish defence who reminded me of our men in blue by their stoutness. The Irish attack were well contained in the main, but where we failed in attack was the poor deliveries from set pieces and open play and I could not help but think we needed more pace when we advanced.
    The loss of Allen was unfortunate to say the least, for when he was buzzing around in mid-field in the opening 30 minutes, I thought we looked impressive, apart from the limitations mentioned above. I was hoping young Woodburn would have come on earlier, and possibly Brooks also to give a few more problems for our opponents in the last twenty minutes. But Managers know best – perhaps!
    So now that this campaign is out of the way, time to concentrate on the Championship. Patterson’s hat-trick yesterday will have no doubt encouraged NW, but I’m not sure if he was playing as a full back. If he was, have we ever in our history had someone in that position score three times in one match, but also, how culpable was he for any of Blackburn’s goals? Paul, over to you as ever for answers.

  5. Lindsay Davies says:

    Spot on, Paul. Huge disappointment. I don’t usually allow myself the luxury of optimism before a match that matters to me, but, on this occasion, I really thought we’d win. I am absolutely with BJA, in that I felt that it was pace-going-forward that was lacking. We just couldn’t get behind those large, bearded, men – except once; Jonny Williams to H R-K, and a blinding save. I have to say that I thought Ash W was more to blame than Wayne – he seemed to be pondering his retirement speech while half-heartedly trapping the big man’s roll out. Oh, and where was MacLean’s marker?
    Still can hardly believe the whole dispiriting event – and the Republic, one of my least favourite teams in the whole world.

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  7. HarryKirtley'sGhost says:

    You make some fine bullet points, Paul. And I am in agreement with most of them.
    And I am sorry that most of our MAYA compardes are gutted. I am not particularly, other than the fact that I am like Lindsay, particularly sad that we lost to the ROI…because I too have a curious dislike for them…being one of only three national teams that I always want England to beat …the other two being Argentina and Germany
    (No, there is no need to “go figure”… Yes…you’ve got it in one…!,)
    And seeing as both you and AMO kindly allude to me in your comments on the game (and basically could script verbatim my words on the debacle that led to the goal), let me not disappoint you further…I was the very first to post on WoL these comments under the player ratings article:

    Aaron Ramsey an EIGHT…?
    Dear me, I would give him at least three less.
    His worst ever home game for Wales.
    And saying Hennessey had no chance with the goal, is not true. He had the “chance” to kick the ball into the opposition half, instead of embarking on a suicidal throw.
    But I do not totally blame him. Cookie has long swallowed the modish thinking of “building from the back”…forgetting that he does not have Beckenbauer, Bobby Moore, Roberto Carlos and Bertie Vogts in his back four…!!
    Ashley, James, Ben, and Chris are normal mortals who can find their second touch is a tackle. THAT is why we must ensure that we eradicate such kamikaze moves from our play in future.

    What I omitted to say in that contribution was that the current Welsh defenders attempt to be mirror images of Coleman the player. A player who was in love with himself to the extent that he clearly saw himself as a stylist extraordinaire. Far, far, far too casual. He thought he played like a Maldini, but Paolo was cut from a different cloth, methinks.

    (But still I fantasise that Cookie has a lifesize photo of Maldini on his bedroom ceiling. )

    I find it hard to erase from my memory a stupid back pass from Cookie just before halftime in a key qualifier somewhere – I think in one of the Low Countries – that was seized upon and all the heroic Welsh defence in the first half was thrown down the drain. (No doubt that our MAYA brethren of a statistical bent – like the admirable Richard Holt – can provide the necessary chapter and verse here.)
    In the Royal Navy of Horatio Nelson, Coleman would have been flogged by the gangway or at the yardarm, for dereliction of duty that day.

    Now, I started this by saying that I was in agreement Paul with most of your bullet points. The only two that slightly make me raise an eyebrow are #3 and #8.

    In #3, you say…
    My only reason for mentioning the above is that, if last night’s match became a “typical” British game with the ball spending a lot of time in the air, then that would be playing into Ireland’s hands – our best chance of beating them was to out football them.

    Naturally, I zero-in on your use of the term “out football” them.
    Excuse my cod Norwegian accent here…

    “Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung, William James, Alfred Adler…your boys have taken a helluva beating…”

    It is a sign of how deep the tika-taka “let’s play in boring triangles”, propaganda has lodged itself in the collective psyche of so many of my MAYA comrades, that I will bet you that most MAYAns had read that comment of yours Paul, and nodded in agreement.

    Listen my dear friends, please look at the Laws of The Beautiful Game. And you will see something that may surprise you: heading of the ball is not only allowed, but positively encouraged.

    And we must remember that with the best teams, neither the foot nor the head does most of the work. Rather, the real worker is the ball itself.

    Any team whose goalkeeper rolls the ball out to a defender, hoping he will expertly control it and then start the playing of little triangles all the way down the field to score some divine 27 pass goal, should go to the circus …a place where they may be more gainfully employed.

    And that apart, why spend 27 passes, when you can do it in a couple…as with Bryson’s wonderful goal at Sunderland the other week…?!

    So to me, to “out football” another team, brings to mind Toshack and Keegan, not Xavi and Iniesta.

    And here we come to bullet point 8, where you mention that were Hennessy to kick it long, it would come straight back at us. Oh …really?

    That is far from a given. Some balls would deflect off the heads of the big lads in the Irish defence, and end up as throw-ins or corners to us. One in ten, our striker might get his head to first, and one in ten would get us a free kick near their goal, when our boy is pushed in the back. But let’s agree with you that several the other 8 of the ten, do come straight back.

    They come back in the direction of our forward running midfield, and we have a good chance of gaining possession around the central circle, and moving toward their goal…and thus saving all the kamikaze danger of tiki-taka near our own goal.

    (And let me seize there on the last two words…and use them in their other meaning. Mr Duffy, who many judges reckoned was the Man of the Match last night, recently scored two own goals in one game against the Bluebirds. So let us not assume that had we put them under proper pressure from the start, with two up front, that they would have still had a cigar on, for 90minutes: they wouldn’t. And the tragedy is that in Hennessey we have a keeper with a kick like a mule. But I would not mind betting we have a manager who knows the Law that says “you cannot be offside from a throw-in”, but is blissfully ignorant of the Law that says “you cannot be offside from a goal kick”…as most football fans I know, are also ignorant of. Thus Hennessey’s marvellous kicking was ignored, and he committed the same stupid error that the Slovenian keeper made at Wembley a few days before, spoiling a heroic display by allowing Kyle Walker to intercept his daft throw, and cross for Harry Kane* to toe poke the last minute winner. If only the duffer had kicked it down the field, and gained vital territory.
    I was taken by the restraint of his teammates that night. I was amazed they did not try to throttle him there and then on the pitch. I guess they knew that he had kept them in the game with his saves, and so if anyone had the right to throw the game (ouch!) then it was he.

    If from the start we played a sensible 4-4-2 (Cookie showed his tactical naïveté last night when, needing two goals, took his loan striker off and replaced like-for-like, instead of pulling Williams or Chester off, and playing two up front), then it could have been a different story. And if Cookie had decided to eat humble pie and make up with our best centre back by far and get him out of his self-imposed international retirement, we would have a centre half who could jump these past two years…and Ronaldo would never have scored that header. Assuming that Cookie had chosen our best header to mark Portugal’s best header…which is far from certain, given that he had chosen the relatively non-jumping Chester to man-mark him at corners. Had Tony Pulis ever become manager, Ginge would have been an ever-present and possible captain.

    Before signing off, I think I was the first in these pages to applaud the purchase of Callum Paterson. He is a phenomenal player who can play any position on the pitch. Every time I have seen him play for Hearts, he has stunned me.
    And he is a leader of men: a future worthy captain of my boyhood club. A man who would never defecate in the street and think it funny.
    Just a note on his spelling: one of your above MAYAns is spelling his surname like he was a relative of the great Floyd Patterson. He is not.

    Rather, he may well be related to an even greater Paterson (with one T) …Australia’s greatest poet, Banjo Paterson. Check out his wonderful ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ on YouTube.

    And talking of YouTube: I do have problems with the double L in his “Callum”. To me the name should have just one L …as with the late great Calum Kennedy .

    I adored that man and one song in particular…his glorious ‘Lovely Stornaway’. It used to be my party piece.

    *I often wonder if his parents were lover of puns and figured that he would prove to be be a tornado of a goalscorer. A veritable HURRICANE.

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  9. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Just a few quick reactions to what’s been posted in reply to my piece. Anthony, we do have some great looking young talent coming through, but I just wish one of them was a striker!
    Clive R, I think you are right about those early drawn games – 1-1 v Georgia meant we became underdogs for all but short spells at the beginning and end of the campaign.
    Clive H, I’ve mentioned on here or on the messageboard before that I rate Chris Wathan, but I honestly don’t know where he was coming from with those markings – to me, the Welsh team were full of five and six out of ten performances (I think I’m being a bit generous there as well), I still find it hard to settle on a Welsh man of the match (Ledley possibly because of his lack of game time?), because I can’t think of anyone in the team (certainly in the starting eleven) who could look back at the game and think “I played to my full potential out there”.
    BJA, you touch upon something that, increasingly, I’m thinking is true about the goal. Well taken though it was, it did owe a lot to luck and, without that luck, the Welsh defence would have had a quiet night. After the game, Danny Gabbidon talked about Ireland setting a trap which Wales fell into with the goal, which is true to an extent, but Hendrick points for someone else to go and close down Ashley Williams first and then realises he has to do it himself when there is no one in a white shirt closer than him to the ball. The luck comes into it twice, first when the ball stays in play after the initial challenge and then when it rolls along the touchline for a good ten yards before Hendrick reaches it – I don’t think the ball crosses the line for a throw in, but it was a very close thing at times.
    Lindsay, I’ll be surprised if we’ll be watching Ireland play in Russia this summer (unless it’s in a warm up game for the hosts!) – I read somewhere that it was like watching a match between two mediocre League One teams on Monday, a bit harsh maybe, but not very. A question occurred to me yesterday, how do you think it would go if those two teams played each other ten times? I’d say it would be something like three wins each with four draws, there’d be three 1-0s to either side, three 0-0s and a 1-1 goal fest!
    Sorry Dai, I can’t give your answer the time it deserves, but I would say that I’m not aware of one team that have won a major tournament at international or club level (by club level I mean tournaments on a continent wide basis), by playing a percentage based POMO type game – trophies have been won using that approach at levels below the ones I’m talking about, but I believe you have to mix things up somewhat to enjoy success with a “long ball” game at the very top levels of the game. You make some fair points about midfielders getting forward to gain possession from “second balls” from kicks upfield by a goalkeeper, but so many sides play with two central midfielders in a holding role these days that, invariably, there’d only be one man trying to get to the sort of knockdowns you talk about. For me, too many sides try to play a version of tika taka when they don’t have the basic footballing ability to play that style effectively, hence they play boring sideways and backwards football of the type that was taking City towards a probable relegation under Paul Trollope. Such teams need to add some elements of a more direct game to their approach and, based on their attempts to build from the back over the past year or so, Wales fall into that category. Whatever the rights and wrongs of what I say, that throw out by Hennessey would have signalled danger to even the Barcelona team of 2011 – it was an accident waiting to happen and, having seen it a few times now, it only left Williams with the option of booting the ball up the pitch, or out of play, something that, as you remark, our keeper is well capable of doing himself, because he is very good with the ball at his feet.

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