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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep, 3, 2006

Misfiring Bellamy accepts blame for Welsh defeat

Craig Bellamy took the rap for Wales' Euro 2008 defeat in the Czech Republic and revealed the pressure he is under to produce results for his country.

Bellamy missed two golden opportunities in Teplice as Wales slipped to an agonising 2-1 defeat to get John Toshack's new-look side off to a disappointing start to their campaign.

With Germany and Slovakia also winning their opening matches, and the Czechs now putting their World Cup disaster behind them, if any two of those three win again on Wednesday - when Wales will not be playing - Toshack's team will be six points adrift.

Bellamy said: 'I suppose there is more pressure on me at this level, playing like I do for Wales. There are not going to be as many chances as I get in club games so the pressure is on me more to put them away.'

Bellamy accepted responsibility for the missed chances, saying: 'It was another case of creating chances and not putting them away, and yes, that means me because of the two great opportunities we had.

'But that's football, if you have ever played against (Czech goalkeeper) Petr Cech you will know he is the best in the world.

'I wasn't creative enough with my first chance, I didn't open myself up to be able to place the ball round him.'

He added: 'The boss had made us believe that this was a great opportunity to pick up an away win against one of the favourites.

'The two chances I had were crucial. I should shown more imagination when I was through, I tried to go past Cech but didn't do enough technically to do that, he read it easily.

'I would really have liked to see that one go in, it would have changed the match.

'The pressure was on me in this one, we were up against it a bit and we were not going to get many chances.

'The second miss was another vital moment. We were under the cosh and if that had gone in and not hit the post we might easily have gone on to win it.

'We should have got a point, minimum. And then to lose another goal like we did in the 89th minute was very upsetting, it was very disappointing all round.'

Chelsea goalkeeper Cech, being watched by his club boss Jose Mourinho, said: 'I'd had nothing to do and then I suddenly find Bellamy is down on me one on one, that was a really vital moment for us because if he had scored Wales would have really been sky high in confidence and would have had something to defend.

'I tried to make him go round me, to give him a decision to make and I managed to get a hand on the ball.

'But he did wriggle away from me and was running at goal with just a defender on the line. Thankfully he put his effort into the side-netting, and when he hit the post with his second-half effort we felt we could go on and win it.'

Wales claimed the Czech Republic's first goal was offside, but the Chelsea man said: 'We've had a look at our first goal on the TV and it is difficult to see properly, but we don't think it was an offside decision.

'But if it was, these things happen.

'But the way Wales came back at us and how well they defended just shows what a difficult group this is going to be.

'Wales have shown what they are capable of, I know they got an own goal but they must feel themselves very unlucky.'

Captain Ryan Giggs summed up the depression which descended on the Wales squad, saying: 'I suppose it was another hard luck story, we felt their first was offside, it looked as if Mark Delaney was the only defender behind their scorer on the line.

'We cannot even think about playing Brazil on Tuesday now, we are too upset for that at the moment.

'We had two great chances and should have put them away, but we will take confidence from a performance like that as a team, we looked a good unit at times and we have proved we can go to a really difficult place against a world top-ranked side and do a good job.

'We felt we deserved more for our efforts than we got. I know we got a rather fortunate own goal, but it was no more than we deserved.'

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