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A game too far in flaming June.

Byline: By Ian Carbis South Wales Echo

One of Wales' best results came in the month of June, Ian Rush's goal beating Germany in 1991 and starting the mother of all parties in Cardiff.

But this summer, the European Championship qualifier against the Czech Republic looks like a game too far for everyone concerned.

Players who thought their seasons were over have to galvanise themselves for one more effort, while fans have to put their hands in their pockets one more time before getting out the suntan oil.

The initial estimates of a 20,000 crowd for tomorrow's match at the Millennium Stadium was a fair indicator of the interest in the game.

But Ryan Giggs' statement that the clash will be his swansong in a Welsh shirt will probably double those expectations - a brilliant marketing ploy in anyone's book!

Giggs looked as tired as anyone last weekend when New Zealand held Wales to a 2-2 draw at Wrexham.

He looked a different man on Wednesday after announcing his international retirement, the weight of expectation finally off his shoulders.

Of course, you may say, why moan about matches in June when World Cups and European Championships are played in the summer every couple of years?

That's just the point. In odd-number years, we should finish the season with the play-offs and then gear up for a new campaign.

Even the staunchest football fans know when enough is enough.

Pity then those who made the effort to travel to the Racecourse.

It proved as much as a warm-up as a jockstrap full of ice-cubes and again brought into focus football friendlies.

There is little point in playing them if the result means as little as Saturday's.

I'm sure John Toshack will point to the fact that it helped several of his squad shake off some rustiness.

Fine, but if that was all the game was for then play it behind closed doors, the paying public deserve better.

Hopefully Wales will serve up some fine fare tomorrow to leave us with a feelgood feeling - otherwise it'll be a long three weeks before the Intertoto Cup starts.

FK Vetra v Llanelli, if you're interested. Break? What break?
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 1, 2007
Words:364
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