World Cup qualifier: Wales 0-2 Finland

Craig Bellamy delivered a crushing verdict of Wales's prospects after their soul-destroying defeat at home to Finland

The melancholy mood at the final whistle showed no sign of lifting afterwards as John Toshack and Craig Bellamy delivered verdicts every bit as crushing as the result. While the manager admitted his team are"not ready" to compete at this level and raised doubts about whether they will improve for the next qualification campaign, Bellamy dismissed talk of promise and potential and, most damningly, described Wales as "not a good side".

They were sobering thoughts at the end of a demoralising afternoon as Finland recorded a victory that was as comfort­able as the score suggests. The result put to bed any hopes Wales had of reaching the World Cup finals and, perhaps just as significantly, checked the optimism that has accompanied the emergence of several youngsters. "What is promise? It means nothing," said Bellamy. "You have to fulfil it. You can only do that here and now."

The captain made no attempt to conceal his frustration as he conducted the postmortem and reflected on the all too familiar feeling of being part of a team out of contention long before the qualifying fixtures have drawn to a close. "It is the same situation again," he sighed. "Pride again, loads of games and try to get as many points as you can which is very disappointing. We have never done anything [and] we are not going to do anything –certainly this campaign."

The striker's analysis of the performance against Finland was not designed to make anyone feel better. "We never passed quick enough, we never got forward quick enough and we let people get back and then what do you do? You invite [delivering] crosses against a defence in which the smallest person is 6ft 1in. We played to their strengths and we fell into a trap. It is frustrating as they were there to be got at. They are not a good side. And obviously neither are we."

Toshack was not as scathing but the underlying message was just as depressing as he surveyed the wreckage of a listless second-half performance and predicted more pain in the future. "When you look at the players and teams we have had – apart from the 1976 team, none of them have ever won a group. It makes you realise how difficult it is with this crop," said the Wales manager, who last month signed an extended contract until 2012.

"But, as they get older, other teams will have to go through the same [transitional] process and, hopefully, these players will be doing to other teams what other teams are doing to them now. It probably won't be me here who will see it. But I think it is the only way forward because, it just shows again [against Finland] that this current crop isn't ready. It hurts and it's frustrating but that's the truth of it."

Few of the 22,604 spectators will disagree. It was alarming how Wales imploded from the moment Jonatan Johansson slipped a low shot under Wayne Hennessey two minutes before the break. Toshack might have helped to engineer a response with the introduction of a second attacker to support Bellamy but Robert Earnshaw's arrival came far too late to influence a game that finally slipped from Wales's grasp when Shefki Kuqi dispatched the outstanding Jari Litmanen's pass late on.

It was hardly the ideal preparation for Germany's visit on Wednesday, when Wales can only hope that Joachim Low's side are as generous as Finland in front of goal. "The players found it difficult in the second half and, if I'm honest, I did as well," added Toshack. "We're down and disappointed but, on Wednesday, we've got to have a go."

Man of the match Jari Litmanen (Finland)


Stuart James at the Millennium Stadium

The GuardianTramp

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