Craig Bellamy is no stranger to controversy and he was at the centre of another argument on Wednesday night in Portugal. The Wales captain had to be led away from a row with a supporter after his side's 1-0 defeat in a friendly against Poland. Bellamy, who had been a major doubt before the game with a knee injury and was not expected to play, was only risked until half-time in a match Wales lost to a late goal from Legia Warsaw striker Roger Guerreiro.
But his reward for his desire not to miss out on the friendly, with several other senior players having pulled out, was to become the target of one fan who was hurling abuse from the main stand. Bellamy was doing a touchline interview at the time, and he turned to the fan to shout back that he deserved a little more respect while trying to do TV work. He pointed back at the supporter before being ushered away by Wales backroom staff. Afterwards Bellamy brushed aside the spat with a smile. He said: "These things happen, I don't want to make any fuss about it. It always seems to be me, though.
"I have shown my commitment to Wales by turning up for these sort of games, but it is me that always seems to get picked on for stick. I'm the one who turns up for games. I'm passionate about my country, maybe too passionate at times." The Arsenal striker Eduardo marked his return from injury by setting up Niko Kranjcar's winner in Croatia's 2-1 victory over Romania. Eduardo, 25, has been out for a year after suffering a horrific broken leg while playing for Arsenal, but he was brought on by coach Slaven Bilic after an hour before laying on the pass that allowed Kranjcar to seal victory.
"It was easy to score after Eduardo's perfect assist. We all knew he would be back with a roar, we all believed in him and we are all aware how much stronger we are with him," Kranjcar said. Meanwhile, Norway's coach Egil Olsen revealed he was always confident his team had what it took to beat Germany following their surprise 1-0 friendly victory. Christian Grindheim's second-half strike gave the visitors the spoils in Olsen's first match since taking the reins on an interim basis from Aage Hareide last month. Having failed to win a single fixture last year, it was the perfect start to 2009 for a Norwegian side struggling in their World Cup qualifying campaign. But the result came as no surprise to Olsen, who enjoyed a great deal of success with the Scandinavians during his first spell in charge between 1990 and 1998. "I had a lot of belief this was possible," said the coach. "All in all we deserved to win and the most positive thing was our will to succeed even though the quality before the goal was poor. It was a good performance, even if it was a bit lacking at times." In one of the few matches with points at stake Ireland boosted their chances of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup when record scorer Robbie Keane struck twice, including a penalty, as his side came back to beat Georgia 2-1 in Dublin. Giovanni Trapattoni's side are now level with Italy on 10 points at the top of Group 8. Albania wasted a great chance to go top of their World Cup qualifying group, drawing 0-0 with Malta. Next year's World Cup hosts South Africa were given another reminder of how much work they need to do in the next 18 months when they lost 2-0 at home to Chile. * With agencies