Craig Bellamy's first game as stand-in Wales captain ended in a 5-1 defeat in front of an attendance of just 28,493 fans at the Millennium Stadium, a far cry from the capacity crowds that would help the national side through qualifiers a couple of years ago. Bellamy felt there were no positives at all to take from what he described as one of the worst moments of his career: "What is there to look back on? It was a disaster and one of my lowest points. Wales had a good few years under Mark Hughes when we sold out the stadium. It was really happening for us so I hope this is not a return to the bad old days for both our team and support."
The defeat leaves Wales struggling now, as Craig admitted: "I'm not going to lie, our qualification hopes are not good. I haven't seen us concede goals like that for a long time. Slovakia were not particularly good, and I thought we could turn them over, but you can't give away goals like that. We haven't got a big squad and there are lots of guys who don't play regular first team football so to ask them to play at top level in internationals is difficult. You could see the lack of match sharpness."
Next up for Wales are the side that hammered Ireland on Saturday, and a big test for the Welsh: "Now we have to beat Cyprus. It will be a test of my captaincy ability because we must regain our pride."
Bellamy's trial for assault was due to continue yesterday but was postponed in light of some new evidence that came to light last week. Bellamy is assused of common assault, against Holly Smith and Sophie Palmer. An incident is alleged to have taken place in Cardiff on February 5th. Prosecution solicitor Catrin Davies was successful with an application to adjourn the case in view of this medical evidence, which relates to one of the complainants. It only came to light last week, something that District Judge John Charles found "staggering". He said that he would reserve any further comment until the case was completed. The case is now adjourned until Friday when a new date will be set for the trial. Also accused of common assault on Sophie Palmer is Franklin Lynch, aged 52 of Barry, South Wales. Both men deny the charges against them.
Rafa Benitez will be concerned that Bellamy gets through Wednesday night's match unscathed in light of Dirk Kuyt's injury situation. It's time for a change of fortune for Liverpool's international contingent though, and perhaps tomorrow night will see Bellamy find the net again to end those early mutterings about him being short on confidence.