We’ll look to fu­ture af­ter World heart­break

Western Mail - - SPORT -

WALES may have nar­rowly missed out on a place at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup fi­nals, but as Jayne Lud­low’s side pre­pare to take on Por­tu­gal in two in­ter­na­tional friendlies, striker Kayleigh Green be­lieves the side has a very bright fu­ture.

“We showed so much pas­sion, so much be­lief, so much de­ter­mi­na­tion and so much char­ac­ter in those qual­i­fiers,” Green ex­plained to FAW.cymru at the team base this week.

“We now need to take that into the next cam­paign, and hope­fully we’ll be able to achieve some­thing then.

“For a small na­tion, we’re very con­fi­dent. We’ve got a lot of young play­ers com­ing through along­side our ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers, and those young play­ers are push­ing us on that lit­tle bit more.”

A 3-0 de­feat to Eng­land in New­port back in Au­gust in the fi­nal group game was Wales’ only loss of the qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign, but it proved to be a cru­cial one, as it was Phil Neville’s Lionesses that booked their place in France next sum­mer ahead of Wales.

At­ten­tions will now turn to qual­i­fy­ing for the 2021 Women’s Euro fi­nals that be­gin next Septem­ber, and mak­ing sure that the side go one bet­ter next time.

“For me it was about how well we did as a na­tion,” Green replied when asked to re­flect on the cam­paign as a whole.

“We went into it look­ing at sec­ond place, but for the ma­jor­ity of the time we were top.

!The last game just didn’t go our way, but on the whole it was a mas­sive pos­i­tive for us. Also, to sell out Rod­ney Pa­rade within 24 hours, we’ve never had that as a na­tion.

“That just shows how far we’ve come. Peo­ple are look­ing at us in a dif­fer­ent way now.”

How­ever, the emo­tions were very dif­fer­ent in the days and weeks that fol­lowed the de­feat. “It was emo­tional,” added Green, who was Wales’ top scorer in the cam­paign.

“It touched a lot of peo­ple on a per­sonal level. It took me a few weeks to get over it be­cause we fought so hard.”

Lud­low’s team will play two friendlies against Por­tu­gal, with the first tonight in Rio Maior (6pm).

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