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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Bellamy shrugs off pen miss ahead of Germany

Wales captain Craig Bellamy brushed aside his penalty miss and urged his colleagues to meet the daunting challenge of Germany in their next World Cup qualifier.

Wales made heavy weather of their 2-0 victory over Liechtenstein at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium yesterday which meant - for a few hours at least - they were top of group four.

But reality kicked in with Germany's impressive victory over Russia last night and Wales head to Moenchengladbach to tackle the group leaders and favourites.

Bellamy yesterday survived 80 minutes of senior action for the first time in a year as he battles for full fitness after lengthy injury problems.

Wales had forced themselves ahead near the break with David Edwards' first international goal, and if Bellamy had scored the penalty a couple of minutes later following a trip on Gareth Bale, the second period would have been much easier.

But Peter Jehle made one of a string of fine saves and Wales were left to struggle through a second-half before Chad Evans' deflected second goal sealed their second win in the group.

Bellamy knows it will be a very different challenge against the Germans.

He said: "We can score goals against decent teams, and there is no more a decent side than Germany.

"It may sound strange, but to play against the bigger, better teams is easier.

"You know what to expect, you know you are going to be up against it and you know you have to be right on top of your game, otherwise it will be a very tough evening for you.

"Games like against Liechtenstein are hard. There's no atmosphere and that is despite the best efforts of our fans to help us, it is hard in a big, empty, stadium like that.

"We have to try to generate the atmosphere ourselves. The Millennium Stadium pitch is not the greatest, they don't look after it in the same way.

"Basically it's a rugby pitch and that is a different scenario. And when you get a team like Liechtenstein who sit and defend and leave you with the ball, it's difficult.''

Bellamy added: "It could have been better, of course, but at the end it's three points for us and that was the aim.

"It was my first game for a while and I had forgotten how big a pitch can be. You can do as much training as you want, but games are completely different.

"It was great that the game was against Liechtenstein - no disrespect to them - but for a first competitive game it was ideal for me. It could have gone better but getting through it without a problem was a big bonus for me.

"But Wednesday's game will be very different. There will be a good pitch, it will be a lot quicker and the ball will be moving round a lot more.

"My penalty was so bad the keeper nearly dived over it. It wasn't one of my best moments, but it is not the first penalty I have missed so I'm not going to beat myself up about it.

"It would have been nice to see it go in and if I had been given another go I would have taken it. It's not a problem for me. To be honest, Jason Koumas wanted it and I've got no problem if that is the case next time.

"But for us to miss three in three games is a bit incredible, and whoever takes the next one will feel the pressure big time.''

He said: "If I'd scored a hat-trick, played well but then pulled up lame, that would have destroyed me. So to come off and feel I am ready to play again on Wednesday is great.

"Hopefully I will get a run of games now and the more I play in the next month the better I will be for the next Wales game. You only get sharpness from games, and that has a lot to do with the way I play.''

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