Wales v Belarus Women – BBC News

Jess Fishlock
Jessica Fishlock and Natasha Harding have boosted Wales by confirming their intention to play on beyond the end of this qualification campaign
Venue: Rodney Parade Date: Tuesday, 1 December 2020 Kick-off: 19:10 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two Wales & via the red button, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Wales must beat Belarus and hope for a big upset as they chase a play-off spot for the European Championships.

Wales will only advance if the Faroe Islands avoid defeat in Northern Ireland, having conceded 37 goals and scored zero in six qualifiers.

Kenny Shiels’ side are set to advance at Wales’ expense thanks to a superior head-to-head record despite have an inferior goal difference.

Wales manager Jayne Ludlow says she intends to select a full strength side.

Norway are the runaway winners of qualification group C and Northern Ireland look set to pip Wales for a play-off berth.

“I’d love to hold out a slight bit of hope the Faroes cold get something, I’d love that to happen and to be fair to the Faroes, the second time we played them they were a lot harder to beat, more organised, but asking a team with the set-up they to come up against a team filled with confidence and flying high (to get a result) I would be amazed if that happens,” Ludlow said.

“But what we do tomorrow is about us, it is about our progress and it’s game one in a sense. If we are building towards a play-off then great, but I think it would be a massive shock if Northern Ireland don’t get that result.

“But our set-up will be about winning tomorrow, that’s our aim.”

Northern Ireland are set to advance ahead of Wales as group C runners-up by virtue of a superior head-to-head record. The away goals rule favours Northern Ireland, who drew 2-2 in Wales before a 0-0 draw in the return fixture in Belfast.

Wales’ goal difference is 13 goals better than Northern Ireland’s and Ludlow admits it is highly unlikely her side can progress so she is viewing the game as the first in the preparation for World Cup qualifying.

“We are definitely looking ahead, we have had the disappointment of losing to Norway and we have had that process of saying ‘let’s get over this disappointment’ and attack the future.

“The good thing is we have youngsters pushing through… and a crop of older players who are very competitive still, so that is great.”

Wales have been boosted at least by the news that two of their key senior players have committed to remain on for the next campaign, with Ludlow’s side targeting a first ever major finals appearance at the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Forward Natasha Harding has joined Wales’ most capped player Jessica Fishlock in confirming she intends to play on for another campaign.

“I have no intention of retiring, I know I maybe joke about it too much with the staff but I have no intention of retiring, if I am playing really well then why not carry on?

“I know it will be hard but I truly believe this group of players deserve to be on a major stage.

“We have to dust ourselves off and go again. I have no intention of retiring, if Jayne is listening, I am still available!”

Ludlow is happy her senior players are so committed to the next campaign.

“It’s fantastic, they are as a group of older player and I will put them in a collective as we do have a few who are coming to the latter stages of their career, I believe they are all in the same thought process, they want to be a part of this and this group,” Ludlow added.

“There are times going forward where they will be needed for 90 minutes and times when they won’t be, but a big part of their job going forward is challenging the youngsters and helping with their development.”

Wales are still without long-term absentees Loren Dykes and Megan Wynne while Tottenham defender Anna Filbey misses out with a foot injury she sustained last month.

Belarus were beaten 3-2 by Northern Ireland on Friday.


Belarus 0-1 Wales (8 October, 2019)

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