Welsh Football's Greatest Moments | Wales vs the World, 2002
"any manager has to put his own ideas into practice. I’ve got a good idea of how I want the game played, and what you have to do to be successful.” - Mark Hughes, August 1999
On paper, the draw for Wales' 2002 World Cup qualification was promising. Poland, Ukraine, Norway, Armenia and Belarus would be all that stood in the way to South Korea and Japan. Hughes' side would only lose three times, but frustratingly drew 6 games before finally winning the final group fixture against Belarus. Wales had taken the lead in 6 of the ten fixtures, only to throw away precious points in five of them. Hughes would have his work cut out before qualification for Euro 2004 began. Perhaps even more disappointingly, the national team's new home, The Millennium Stadium was left nearly empty by the end of the campaign, Just 7000 supporters (including myself) would watch John Hartson sink Belarus. Belief in Wales had reached a new low.
"The result ensured that Wales do not have to reflect on a winless World Cup campaign and provided Hughes's managerial career with a boost when defeat could have spawned mutterings of discontent. The Welsh manager will be grateful to have added a tangible marker of success to his CV." - The Guardian
"The performance bore all the hallmarks of what you would expect from a side coached by Hughes. It was a display full of passion, commitment and skill on a historic night at the Millennium Stadium." - Wales Online