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Latest news - February 2000.
 Mark Hughes to carry on experimenting.
Mark Hughes has promised to keep on experimenting before the 2002 World Cup qualifiers start in September. Hughes played an unusual 5-2-2-1 formation against Qatar, with Gary Speed and John Robinson being asked to play floating roles behind Nathan Blake. The system could change again when Finland come to Cardiff on March 29.

What Mark Hughes said:

"I played 4-4-2 in my first two matches as caretaker, and we changed that in Doha."

"In the past we have not been able to alter the way we play, sometimes during matches, and we have to learn to do that at international level."

Friday, February 25th 2000.

 Mark Hughes pleased with victory.
Mark Hughes said he was pleased and delighted with his players efforts and performance against Qatar.

What Mark Hughes said:

"I was pleased for them because it was hard work out there on a very hard pitch in humid conditions."

I was delighted with the efforts of my players, they took on board the things we have drumming into them in our training sessions."

Wednesday, February 23rd 2000.

 Important on making a good start.
Mark Hughes has named his team for the friendly against Qatar. He has highlighted the importance of getting off to a good start as Wales prepare for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Wales XI against Qatar:

P Jones.
M Delaney.

C Coleman
A Melville.
R Page.
D Barnard.
J Robinson.
M Jones.
G Speed.
M Pembridge.
N Blake

M Crossley, N Roberts, C Robinson, J Oster, S Davies, K Symons

What Mark Hughes said:

"It's not about them it's about us."

Tuesday, February 22nd 2000.

 Hughes hangs up his international boots.
Mark Hughes has ended his 15-year international career. His decision has come as little suprise due to his role as the new full-time manager.

What Mark Hughes said:

"It's over as far as playing for Wales is concerned."

"It would be unreasonable to really involve myself at this stage. I won't be involved at the World Cup games so there's no point."

Monday, February 21st 2000.

 Giggs withdrawn from squad.
Ryan Giggs has been withdrawn from the Welsh squad to play against Qatar on Wednesday. Also withdrawn is Dean Saunders, Neil Roberts of Wigan has been drafted in.

What Mark Hughes said:

"I would have liked for Ryan to make the trip but United know his medical history, and I cannot insist on him coming over here."

What Neil Roberts said:

“In four days I have moved to Wigan and played against my football hero, Ian Wright, and then I get a call-up for Wales - this is what dreams are made of.”

Sunday, February 20th 2000.

 Millennium Stadium deal agreed.
The FAW have signed a deal with the Welsh Rugby Union to stage football internationals at the Millennium Stadium over the next 30 years.

What David Collins said:

"We look forward to taking our biggest games to the venue."

Saturday, February 19th 2000.

 Qatar squad announced.
Mark Hughes has named his squad for the friendly against Qatar in Doha on February 23.

click here for full squad details.

What Mark Hughes said about Simon Davies:

"Simon is an exciting player, and this trip gives me the chance to have a good look at him."

Wednesday, February 9th 2000.

 Fixture list announced.
Wales will start their World Cup campaign with a trip to Belarus in September.

Then the first double header of the group will take place in October at home to top seeds Norway on the 7th and then away to Poland on either the 10th or 11th.

The next round of matches comes in March next year when we must travel to Armenia on the 24th, and then return four days later to play against the Ukraine.

The draw in Poland ended in deadlock when representatives of all six countries met in Warsaw. Eventually the games and dates were decided by drawing lots.

What FAW official Mark Evans said:

"Right from the start it was clear that Poland wanted these negotiations to end up going into a draw rather than the nations agreeing on dates, and there was not a lot we could do about it."

What David Collins said about the Norway match:

"That game is the biggest in the group for us and we would hope to play it at the Millennium Stadium and get a big crowd. I'm sure we can achieve that and negotiations will start as soon as possible."

Welsh group matches
Sept 2/3, 2000. Belarus (a) June 2, 2001. Poland (h)
Oct 7, 2000. Norway (h) June 6, 2001. Ukraine (a)
Oct 10/11, 2000. Poland (a) Sept 1, 2001. Armenia (h)
Mar 24, 2001. Armenia (a) Sept 5, 2001. Norway (a)
Mar 28, 2001. Ukraine (h) Oct 6, 2001. Belarus (h)

Tuesday, February 8th 2000.

 FAW receive amazing offer.
The FAW have received an amazing offer from the Celtic Manor resort to establish a new international headquarters. They have offered to build new offices and two training pitches at the complex near Newport. The FAW will hold talks this week, but have said they would not however be moving from Westgate Street as part of any development.

Monday, February 6th 2000.

 Poland trip for Hughes.
Mark Hughes flies out to Poland on Tuesday to arrange the order of the 2002 World Cup qualifying games. It is reported that Hughes' preferred option is to meet either Norway, Poland or Ukraine away first. Also to be consider is an away double header against two of the eastern block countries. Belarus and Armenia complete the group.

Sunday, February 6th 2000.

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