Craig Bellamy was at his creative best for Wales on Wednesday night on an evening when Freddie Ljungberg's Sweden edged towards a place at Euro 2008.
Welsh captain Bellamy created two first-half goals for a 2-1 victory in San Marino as John Toshack's men returned to winning ways in unspectacular fashion after a 3-1 defeat in Cyprus at the weekend. The forward showed no ill-effects from recent groin surgery as he first set up Robert Earnshaw with an incisive pass in the 13th minute before supplying the cross for Joe Ledley nine minutes from half-time that ended a free-flowing move.
If the overall team performance in the Group D contest did not catch the eye, at least Bellamy, like club-mate Danny Gabbidon, got a full 90 minutes under his belt for the second time in four days. The news will be a welcome boost for Alan Curbishley, who had already lost James Collins to a calf injury on Wales duty last Saturday, ahead of the visit of Sunderland when West Ham United return to Premier League action on Sunday.
Having picked up a knock himself in Saturday's 3-0 win in Liechtenstein, Ljungberg remained on the bench for Sweden's 1-1 draw against Northern Ireland in Stockholm that took them closer to next summer's finals. Club-mate George McCartney was in the Northern Irish lineup and played 87 minutes but could do nothing about Olof Mellberg's early strike. Kyle Lafferty equalised late on to keep alive the visitors' slim hopes of qualifying from Group F.
Elsewhere, Christian Dailly, on loan at Southampton until 22 October, was an unused substitute as Scotland lost 2-0 at Group B rivals Georgia. Despite the defeat, the Scots will still qualify for Austria and Switzerland should they see off world champions Italy at home next month. England, who were denied the services of Dean Ashton after injury, are also in a precarious position after a 2-1 loss in Russia left qualification out of their hands with just one home game against Croatia to come.