Wales Women’s qualification hopes now out of their hands

The Wales women’s team line-up for the Euro 2022 Qualifier v Norway at Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. (Kunjan Malde/FAW)

Wales’ hopes of qualifying for the 2022 Women’s Euros hang in the balance after suffering a 0-1 defeat at home to group winners Norway.

The visitors launched waves of attacks in the opening period at the Cardiff City Stadium but the home side held firm. Welsh keeper Laura O’Sullivan made a couple of crucial first-half saves, Elise Thorsnes denied despite proving threatening in the box. Jess Fishlock’s rasping drive flew just wide of the top left-hand corner in the opening five minutes but Wales offered little else in reply, going forward, while the game remained level.

Norway piled on the pressure again after the restart and eventually had their breakthrough after a  miscommunication between Fishlock and Elise Hughes resulted in an opportunity for Frida Maanum to surge through the middle and take a strike at goal, an invite she gratefully accepted, firing a quality finish into the bottom left corner.

Norways Frida Maanum celebrates her goal. (John Smith/FAW)

Wales rallied in the closing stages and created a string of chances and half-chances in a dramatic closing 15 minutes, however Fishlock was off target and Angharad James denied by keeper Cecilie Fiskerstrand.

Rachel Rowe and Gemma Evans in the box, as Wales push for an equaliser v Norway. (Kunjan Malde/FAW)
Wales ‘keeper Laura O’Sullivan during the Euro Qualifier against Norway. (Kunjan Malde/FAW)

Laura O’Sullivan told faw.cymru:

“It was a game of two halves really. We did really well to keep to our game plan and one sloppy mistake is the difference. We did fight back and it’s disappointing we couldn’t equalise.”

Dejected after the final whistle. Wales’ Hayley Ladd, Jess Fishlock, Sophie Ingle and Angharad James. (John Smith/FAW)

The hope of qualifying is now out of their hands. With one game left for Jayne Ludlow’s side in this qualifying campaign against Belarus at home, they will need to win their final match and hope that Northern Ireland drop points against Belarus to secure the second place and a spot in the play-offs.

Northern Ireland Women clinch crucial win despite red card for keeper

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