Football

Welsh boss bemoans lack of players

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Wales boss John Toshack rued the absence of a number senior players after his side went down to a battling 2-0 friendly loss in Croatia.

Toshack's patched-up side performed admirably in front of a highly-charged crowd in Osijek but were ultimately beaten by superb goals from Ivan Rakitic and Drago Gabric late in each half.

There was no shame in the defeat having travelled with a squad of just 17 after 15 players, including the likes of Craig Bellamy, James Collins, Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, were ruled out for the trip.

Toshack said: "It is just disappointing and unfortunate we had the amount of players missing we have."

He added: "We arranged this game with the Montenegro match in mind in September because it will be a similar type of atmosphere.

"But we had a few chances and there was a goal - I don't think anyone would have complained too much if it had stood.

"There were one or two useful counter-attacks and we defended quite resolutely.

"To lose the first goal right on half-time was a disappointment and in the second half, bearing in mind some haven't played too much, we were stretched numbers-wise."

Toshack's opposite number Slaven Bilic paid tribute to efforts of Wales in making life difficult for his side.

Croatia, with Tottenham's Luka Modric to the fore, were dominant throughout but were frustrated on many occasions by the Wales back line.

Bilic said: "In the first half we made many mistakes but in the second we were much better and much faster. We won with great power. Wales are not technically at the highest level but they play great British football. They were good running forward and played well through the middle."

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