Welsh told to improve or face embarrassment

Wales manager John Toshack and captain Craig Bellamy have both called for a major improvement ahead of tonight’s World Cup qualifier with Germany in Cardiff.

The Welsh face one of the toughest sides in the world, just four days after the disastrous 2-0 home defeat by Finland that virtually ended all hope of qualifying for South Africa next year.

Now Toshack is planning several changes to his side for tonight’s game at the Millennium Stadium – where the FA of Wales are hoping for a crowd closer to 30,000, rather than the 22,000 who turned up on Saturday.

And Bellamy has stood by his outburst at the weekend when he produced a savage tirade at an under-achieving squad.

He said: “I stand by what I said after the game. Maybe I could have chosen my words differently, but I still very much believe in what I said. I could have worded it differently, but I have to put up with that.

“Sometimes you cannot be honest in football, you have to duck questions and be as diplomatic as you can.

“But for me that is now easy. I am emotional and I try to be honest as much as I can. Basically I do not like letting people off.

“We were all disappointed and frustrated, and I say things. I am old enough to know that such comments allow people to have a dig back, but I can handle that.”

The Manchester City forward added: “We must do a lot better now than we did against Finland.

“Whatever the tactics and formations, you still have to perform to the best of your ability.”

Despite his obvious discontent, Bellamy retains his support for Toshack.

“He is the manager, he believes how we go forward and he has been very good to me. I am very much behind him and the way he does things,” he said.

“Things will be questioned, rightly so, but the last few years have been bad for Welsh football. We have not had enough (good) players and that has been a problem.

“But we will be more fired up for this one, otherwise it will be a very uncomfortable evening, we could get badly turned over.”

Several players could easily find themselves on the sidelines tonight.

Toshack seems likely to recall defender Sam Ricketts after suspension, with Swansea’s Ashley Williams expected to be back in a three-man central defence.

In midfield, Simon Davies – still nursing an ankle injury – and Jason Koumas - who has been troubled by a hip problem since Christmas – could both make way.

Youngsters Lewin Nyatanga and David Edwards could also be withdrawn from the firing line.

Nottingham Forest striker Robert Earnshaw, Sheffield United’s David Cotterill and Manchester City’s Ched Evans could figure, while 18-year-old Aaron Ramsey is expected to make his full debut.

Toshack said: “There has been a little bit of soul-searching after Saturday and the mood is better now.

“We have had a talk, but what was said is between us. But there will be changes for the Germany game.

“The players are disappointed with themselves and they can do better. I do not feel that some of the players did themselves justice. And we must do better.”

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