'We must follow Belgian example'
CRAIG Bellamy insists Wales will be taking notes in Brussels tomorrow — because Belgium are a side they want to copy.
Chris Coleman's men are likely to walk into a party atmosphere at Stade Roi Baudouin after Belgium sealed their place in next summer's World Cup with a win against Croatia on Friday.
They cannot be caught at the top of Group A following an unbeaten campaign in which they have dropped just two points.
An already difficult task has been made harder by the fact Wales are missing a host of key players including star man Gareth Bale and captain Ashley Williams.
They will be looking to hang on to fourth place in the pool, a position gained after victory over Macedonia three days ago.
The match will be Bellamy's last for Wales as he plans to retire from international football after it. But the Cardiff City striker believes his team-mates should pay attention to their surroundings as they try to match Belgium's achievement in the future.
"That's what we want to emulate," he said.
"It's a great opportunity to see what it's all about.
"Like ourselves, they're a country who had talent down the years, but it's been 12 years since they've qualified.
"With the talent they've got, they and Croatia were always going to be the teams to beat in this group.
"It's important for us to respect what they've done and hopefully one day we can mimic their success."
Bellamy signed off at home with victory as Wales overcame Macedonia on Friday.
And it could have been a dream send-off had the 34-year-old netted when put through on goal in the second period.
Some thought Bellamy might also have taken the penalty Wales were awarded, but instead Aaron Ramsey stepped up.
He missed from 12 yards so Chris Coleman's side had to rely on Simon Church's goal to secure the points.
"People like happy endings, but they don't always work out," said Bellamy. "It was nice to get the win because we needed it in this group.
"You get what you deserve in football, over the balance of the qualifying group.
"There's no two ways about it — we can't make excuses for anything, but I do believe that with the players we have we shouldn't be in that position."
Ramsey sent his spot-kick straight down the middle and saw it saved by Tome Pacovski.
But the Arsenal midfielder was otherwise excellent and played a key pass to Bellamy in the build-up to Church's goal.
"There's no sentiment in football," said Bellamy.
"Why would I ask to take the penalty? I've never been selfish in any part of my life.
"It was more important that we won, and Aaron's going to take penalties for Wales for years to come.
"He needs to take them now.
"If we are ever to qualify he'll need to take them so he needs to put himself in as many situations as he can now."
Victory lifted the pressure on Coleman, with uncertainty surrounding whether he will stay on as manager.
A decision will be made after the qualification campaign is rounded off tomorrow.
Some have suggested Bellamy could be a possible successor if Coleman does depart.
"I hope Chris stays on, but it's about the team, developing, progressing and things like that," added the forward.
"It's out of my hands now, I've got one more game.
"One thing is for sure. With the players we've got, we really do need to start making progress."