Bell of the ball

While England thumped Montenegro at Wembley on Friday night, there were mixed fortunes for Wales and Northern Ireland.

Last Updated: 13/10/13 at 10:50 Post Comment

Bellamy: qutting international football

Bellamy: qutting international football

Chris Coleman's Dragons recorded a 1-0 victory over Macedonia in Craig Bellamy's final international at the Millennium Stadium, with Charlton striker Simon Church netting his country's goal and in-form Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey missing a late spot-kick.

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But Northern Ireland followed up last month's loss in Luxembourg with another disappointing reverse, this time in Azerbaijan, with Michael O'Neill's side defeated 2-0 and seeing Jonny Evans red carded for a cynical challenge in stoppage time.

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Wales and Northern Ireland were not in the running for a place in next summer's World Cup in Brazil, with just pride and group position at stake in their penultimate games.

And after the clashes the Sky Sports experts - Mark Bowen and David Healy - gave their thoughts on how their nations performed...

Former Wales left-back and current Stoke assistant manager Mark Bowen

"In his last game at home, Bellamy could have pulled rank when Wales got the penalty but the fact he didn't shows his professionalism, while he was a constant menace to Macedonia throughout the game. He will be such a miss because of what he brings in terms of pace and energy.

"Ramsey, meanwhile, delivered a midfield masterclass, running things from start to finish - he took a pub player's penalty, mind you! - and Coleman's game-plan, with a lot of new players, worked very well. However, it will be a major bonus if we come away with anything from Belgium on Tuesday (7.55pm, Sky Sports 3)."

David Healy - Northern Ireland's record goalscorer (36 in 95 games)

"It was very disappointing; the performance was a little bit better than the Luxembourg game but we have had the same disappointment on the road. I'm sure O'Neill will have a go at Evans about his ill-discipline - I love Jonny but had no idea what he was thinking when he pulled the Azerbaijan player down - but we had one chance in the second half when Martin Paterson hit the post and that was it.

"Azerbaijan like to play out from the back and we didn't guard against that; we had the numbers advantage when they broke for their first goal but players were sloppy in defence, which has been a concern over the campaign. Michael's doing everything he can but he just doesn't have the number of experienced players we had in the past - and he is not getting any luck."

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