Wales agonisingly miss out on FIFA Women’s World Cup playoff spot

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Wales have missed out on a playoff spot for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, after an anxious wait.

Jayne Ludlow’s side needed two results to go in their favour, but on the final day of Qualifying in Europe, it wasn’t to be for Wales.

Wales needed both Belgium and Iceland to lose.

At the break, it good and bad for Wales. Belgium were leading group leaders Italy, whilst the Czech Republic lead Iceland at the break.

Italy who had won seven out of seven games before today and had already qualified, lost to Belgium on the final day of qualifying, losing their 100% record.

Davina Vanmechelen opened the scoring for the Red Flames in the sixth minute, before Cristina Girelli levelled from the spot. It was only five minutes though before Belgium retook the lead. Vanmechelen grabbing hers and Belgium’s second goal of the game.

In the other game. Tereza Szewieczková’s goal in Iceland gave the Czechs an early lead against Iceland, but Wales needed Belgium to lose also. To make matters worse, Glodis Viggosdottir scored for Iceland with three minutes to go,

Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium have all qualified for the playoffs, whilst Iceland and Wales miss out.

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Wales’ next chance of qualifying for a major tournament now, will be the European Championships in 2021.

The Dragons will have a better chance of qualifying, following the expansion to sixteen teams.

England have submitted a bid to become the host of the tournament in 2021.

Ludlow said on Friday: “In regards to the coaching staff, we’re already looking ahead to the next tournament and the next generation of players that are going to join these players.”

Former Arsenal defender Jayne Ludlow said after the defeat to England, that Wales have work to do if they are to match teams like England, who finished top of the group, unbeaten.

“We have work to do as an association to provide things for young females, far more things, to make sure that we do have players playing at the top level – and more of them.

“It would be really nice to see in the next two or three campaigns, a fully professional Wales outfit, stepping out onto the pitch for the women’s team.

“We matched a very good team in some areas, but not in others. For us now as a nation, we have to make sure we are strong enough in the future.”

(Featured Image: Matthew Lofthouse)

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