'We want to take on the best'.
John Toshack nearly spilt his cup of tea when told that Ronaldinho will start against his Wales side.
He may have been playing up to the cameras at the pre-match press conference, but the thought of the world's best player and his Brazilian team-mates up against you is enough to give the shakes to any manager.
Having worked with the likes of Bebeto, Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo during his time in Spain, Tosh will be well aware at just what is awaiting his young team at White Hart Lane tonight (7.30pm).
His team, that is, which remains hard done by following their late soul-destroying defeat in Teplice.
Wales were confident they could get at least a point off the Czech Republic.
Instead, defeat leaves the despondent squad facing the prospect of being six points off the Group D pace if the Czechs, Germans or even the Slovaks win.
For while their group rivals are doing battle for crucial Euro 2008 points, Wales will be lining up against the Samba Boys in a hastily-arranged friendly.
So the value of tonight's match?
Well, Echo columnist David Giles has already branded the match a complete 'waste of time.'
Yet just the rare prospect of facing the boys of Brazil should be enough of an incentive, coupled with the fact that Wales will pocket around pounds 100,000 also possibly playing a part.
'We want this game to get the Czech Republic match out of our systems and we want it to perk us up,' said Toshack, when questioned on the reasons behind the friendly.
'We want the better players to play against us and we would only want to play Brazil at such short notice.
'We want this to be a worthwhile exercise.'
What Toshack wants, he may not quite get.
It's just hoped that playing one of football's superpowers won't backfire on Wales' inexperienced side.
Because the glamour game in north London could not produce a bigger contrast as millions of pounds worth of soccer wizardry come up against a number of young Coca Cola Championship players.
There's simply no contest.
But Toshack is not one to fret over such problems.
So you can expect the likes of young guns Joe Ledley, David Cotterill, David Vaughan, Gareth Bale and Andrew Crofts all to figure at one point or another against the South American side who trounced Argentina 3-0 on Sunday.
A final sobering thought as Wales prepare to face the former world champions.
'When you play Brazil there's a danger you could be turned over whoever you play so why not give them another chance to gain more experience,' added Toshack.
'You can play three goalkeepers and still be battered.
'I am not bothering myself about being cannon fodder and I have lots of confidence in these young lads.
'They won't be fazed by what comes at them.'
Only time will tell if he's proved right.
MARK Delaney is Wales' main injury doubt for tonight's match.
The Aston Villa full-back is struggling with a sore knee and looks certain to be ruled out.
Richard Duffy looks the obvious replacement, but Toshack has other options available to him which may see Sam Ricketts move to right wing-back and Ledley operating down the opposite left hand flank.
Toshack will start with virtually the same side which lost in Teplice on the weekend, and will blood his rookie players during the second half.
Danny Gabbidon (groin) and Ledley (toe infection) should recover in time to feature.
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|Publication:||South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Sep 5, 2006|
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