Tuesday 21 November 2017

Speed keen to build on victory

Wales manager Gary Speed is slightly disappointed his side's World Cup qualifying campaign does not start now after seeing them make light of the furore over player availability for the Olympics by claiming a handsome 4-1 friendly win over Norway in Cardiff.

The result, courtesy of goals from Gareth Bale, Craig Bellamy and a late Sam Vokes' double, was Wales' fourth win in their last five games, and marked the first time they had strung together three victories in a row since 2008.

Hopes are high that the Dragons will be able to launch a genuine bid to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after being drawn in a negotiable Group A which also includes Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, Scotland and Macedonia.

And Speed admits it is a shame those fixtures will not get under way until August given the head of steam his side have built up.

But the former captain believes there is still plenty to come from his young squad. "In terms of momentum (it is a shame they are not starting now),'' said Speed.

"But I still feel we are not quite there yet, we still have lots to learn. Hopefully the games between now and the World Cup campaign will help us improve even more.''

Fantastic four for Suarez

Luis Suarez scored all four goals as Uruguay beat Chile 4-0 in the third round of the South American qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.

The Liverpool striker scored twice in three minutes shortly before half time and added two more in the second half as his side opened up a three-point lead in the qualifying table.

Having reached the semi-finals in the 2010 World Cup and won the Copa America in July, Uruguay are now three points clear of Argentina, who drew 1-1 with Bolivia, and Paraguay, who beat Ecuador 2-1.

Argentina even had to come from a goal down as Ezequiel Lavezzi cancelled out an opener from Martins Moreno, with many of the fans at the poorly attended match booing as they left the stadium.

Paraguay hit the woodwork in the first half through Marcelo Estigarribia and opened up a two-goal lead early in the second period through Cristian Riveros and Dario Veron.

Ecuador's consolation came from Joao Rojas in injury time.

Colombia drew 1-1 at home against Venezuela and are level on four points with Argentina, their opponents on Tuesday, and Paraguay.

Fredy Guarin put the Colombians ahead in the 11th minute, but they were unable to secure the win and Venezuela levelled in the 78th minute through Frank Feltscher.

Wycombe exit in FA Cup shock

Fleetwood Town pulled off the biggest shock of the FA Cup first round as they knocked out npower League One side Wycombe 2-0, despite playing half of the game with 10 men.

Andy Mangan opened the scoring for the Blue Square Bet Premier high-fliers after 25 minutes, but their advantage looked on shaky ground when Richard Brodie was dismissed just before half time.

It mattered not, though, as the Trawlermen continued their dominance and deservedly progressed when Jamie Vardy netted 10 minutes from time.

Fleetwood's fifth-tier rivals Luton were the only other non-league team to oust Football League opposition as they won 1-0 at home to Northampton. Substitute Adam Watkins scored the winner after 80 minutes.

Plymouth narrowly avoided a major upset as they twice came from behind to draw 3-3 with Evo-Stik League Southern Premier club Stourbridge at Home Park.

Argyle sit rock bottom of League Two and, after only coming out of administration a fortnight ago, looked like suffering an embarrassing exit against a team from the seventh tier.

Trailing 2-1 heading into the final 20 minutes, newly-appointed player-manager Carl Fletcher equalised before a dramatic finale took hold.

Sean Gebbins fired Stourbridge back in front with an 82nd-minute penalty but, despite having Robbie Williams and Conor Hourihane sent off, Plymouth forced a replay when Onismor Bhasera netted with two minutes remaining.

Terriers lose league bite

Huddersfield's league form deserted them completely as they were thrashed 4-1 in the FA Cup first round at Swindon.

The Terriers have not lost in 42 games in the league but were thumped after Lee Novak gave them a 22nd-minute lead. Aden Flint, Raffaele De Vita, Mehdi Kerrouche and Simon Ferry were on target for Swindon.

League Two sides Rotherham and Aldershot rallied late to avoid going out to non-league opposition.

Lewis Grabban truck twice in the final eight minutes as Rotherham eventually won 2-1 at Barrow while Aldershot relied on a 78th-minute equaliser from Michael Rankine to draw 1-1 at Maidenhead.

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