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Watch out for Cyprus, warns Williams.

Byline: By Phil Blanche Western Mail

Wales have been warned not to underestimate Cyprus in their Euro 2008 qualifier next month despite their 6-1 humiliation in Slovakia.

New Cyprus cap Tom Williams missed the Bratislava battering last weekend, but the Swansea City man hopes to figure in his country's October double-header against the Republic of Ireland and Wales.

'It's a blow to get a drubbing in your first qualifier and I'm sure everyone is really disappointed by the result in Cyprus,' said Williams.

'But we had a few players missing and the main two strikers were out.

'That makes a big difference and I think it will be different next month when we've got a lot of the players back.

'I thought Wales played well against the Czech Republic and were unlucky to lose, but hopefully we can turn it around next month.'

Williams - who qualifies to play for the Mediterranean island through his mother's Cypriot family - won his first cap in last month's 2-0 friendly defeat to Romania.

But he said he didn't expect to be part of the Slovakia game as the opening round of Euro 2008 qualifiers clashed with Swansea's league visit from Yeovil.

'I'd spoken to the manager about it and he said it wasn't a problem,' added Williams.

'But I'm hoping to be involved next month against the Republic of Ireland and Wales.'

Some encouraging results over the past 12 months had put Cyprus in the category of Group D dark horses, but it was the thoroughbreds in the section who came out of the stalls flying.

Germany and the Czech Republic both have a maximum six points on the board, with the former having set a new competition record by crushing hapless San Marino 13-0.

'It's going to be tough for the rest,' conceded Williams.

'But some teams have only played one game and it can change very quickly.

'Get a minnow picking up a draw against somebody - like Lithuania did against Italy - and it changes the shape of the group. Suddenly the door's open for people.'

For now, though, Williams is focusing on Swansea's League One form which has yielded seven points from the last nine on offer.

'You'd settle for that in any three games during the season,' said Williams, who has played on the left side of midfield in the last few matches.

'We started well against Yeovil, we kept the ball and there was some good movement.

'If we'd scored in that half-an-hour period, that would have taken us on.

'We didn't and they scored, but we showed fight again and dug deep to come from behind and get a point.

'Sometimes those points are important, they can get you up a place or into the play-offs or that promotion spot.

'We know Bradford is going to be another tough game. My second game for Swansea was up there last year and they've been in this league now for four or five years, so they know what it's all about.'
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 9, 2006
Words:500
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