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Latest news - December 1999.
 Mark Hughes : "I want to make us tougher."
Mark Hughes has said he wants to make Wales' respected again as a footballing nation throughout Europe.

What Mark Hughes said:
"I want to make us mentally tougher as a team."

"Above all, I want us to be a team that other countries don't want to have to play."

Friday, December 17th 1999.

 Mark Hughes confirmed as National Manager.
Mark Hughes has been confirmed as manager for the next four and a half years. He has been given the title of National Team Manager until the 2004 European Championship, with the first 18 months part-time. The decision was past by the full FAW council at a meeting in Llangollen. Eric Harrison is set to be named as his number two.

Thursday, December 16th 1999.

 Reaction to Qualifying Group 5.
With the 2002 World Cup draw now having taken place, see what the reaction is by both management, players and officials.

What Mark Hughes said:

“It’s not a great draw because we wanted a couple of glamour ties.”

"Maybe this draw didn't give us much financial reward but the financial rewards will be there if we qualify."

“Norway are big and strong, very aggressive and organised. “We know all about them as many of their top players are playing in the Premiership.”

"Ukraine are a decent football side. We know they will be technically skilled because of the quality the Kiev players have got.”

What David Collins said:

“It’s certainly worse than we hoped for. We had a tough group for Euro 2000 with Italy, Denmark and Switzerland."

"You look at Armenia, Poland, Ukraine and Norway and it's a very difficult group."

"Norway are the outstanding team in the group, which puts pressure on us to take points from the other matches.

"We really need to get a settled side together and win matches - that's the only thing that can save us in this group."

“But this is a tough group as well with some tough trips. From a financial point of view, we wanted to draw Germany and Italy. That would have helped us immeasurably.”

What Alun Evans, chairman of the FAW’s commercial committee said:

“All the other teams in the group are what I call summer teams."

“The weather is too severe for them to play home games in the winter, and they have no choice but to play in the summer. That’s going to make it difficult when it comes to arranging the fixtures and sorting out something to our satisfaction.”

What Gary Speed said:

"It will be extremely tough to qualify."

Thursday, December 9th 1999.

 2002 World Cup Draw Group 5.
We have been drawn in Group 5 of the 2002 World Cup qualifying round along with Norway, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, and Armenia.
Each team will play their group opponents both home and away with the nine group winners qualifying. The nine runners-up then go into a draw which will also contain the third placed Asian team, the five winners of these games will then qualify.

  Group Five
What Mark Hughes said:
"We new before hand whoever we got it would be a tough group."

"From our point of view we would love to have had more glamourus ties, purely from a financial point of view."

"It's well documented that our association doesn't have a lot of money. Maybe this draw didn't give us much financial reward but the financial rewards will be there if we qualify."

Tuesday, December 7th 1999.

 2002 World Cup Draw.
The draw for the 2002 World Cup takes place in Tokyo on Tuesday, and has put Wales in Pot D along with Cyprus, Hungary and Finland.

The European section of the full draw starts at about 11.00am, and begins with Pot E and ends with Pot A. Each pot is entirely emptied before proceeding to the next pot. The teams are allocated, in the order in which they are drawn, into groups 1 to 9.

Full list of European countries

Pot A: Germany, Holland, Spain, Czech Republic, Romania, Norway, Sweden, Belgium and Yugoslavia.

Pot B: Austria, Portugal, Italy, Scotland, Ukraine, Russia, England, Turkey and Denmark.

Pot C: Ireland, Croatia, Slovakia, Israel, Bulgaria, Greece, Switzerland, Poland and Lithuania.

Pot D: Cyprus, Hungary, Finland, Iceland, Macedonia, Latvia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia and Wales.

Pot E: Georgia, Armenia, Estonia, Northern Ireland, Albania, Faroe Islands, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, San Marino and Andorra.

Monday, December 6th 1999.

 Craig Bellamy back in the new year.
Craig Bellamy reckons he will be back in action at the start of the new year after recovering from a serious knee problem. Last July Craig was injured in a pre-season friendly for his club Norwich City.

What Craig Bellamy said:

"I would expect to be playing in the reserves by January but first team football is another matter. After six months out you can't just go back to the faster-paced games straight away."

"Without doubt I think I will be a much better player. I felt there were things like my strength which I needed to improve, and I've had the chance to do that."

Thursday, December 2nd 1999.

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