Wales women’s national team suffered their first defeat of World Cup qualification this evening after unfortunately losing 2-0 to an in-form France side.
A thrilling second half performance saw Wales scrambling for a goal with Jess Fishlock hitting the crossbar and having an outside-of-box screamer saved by France’s keeper – as well as a red card for Kayleigh Green up top.
There weren’t too many high expectations for our Welsh women’s team going into the game against the 5th FIFA ranked side in the world, and put up a valiant effort after nearly scoring too many times. We were caught on the counter twice though, and conceded on both occasions.
It was a quiet first half for Wales that saw France dominate the ball, racking up 74% of the possession. It was France who controlled the rest of the play too – registering 6 shots and 2 on target in comparison to Wales’ 0 attempts. As expected, France were looking to create chances whenever possible, and looked at counter attacking to do this. It was in stoppage time that France got their first goal, with Diana finding the net in the 45+1 minute.
The girls entered the second half with hopes still intact – and still looked to try and get a goal back. Jess Fishlock nearly did it herself, with a world-class strike from outside the box being narrowly saved by the French keeper in the 59th minute. Wales continued to put pressure on and looked to be in again – but the referee made a poor decision by blowing the whistle against an offside Welsh player who in no way was disrupting the play.
Just 5 minutes later, Kayleigh Green smashed the ball into the side netting that nearly saw an equaliser. Carrie Jones quickly followed up with a fantastic run that saw her deep into the French box, in which her shot was blocked and deflected down to Natasha Harding – who put it wide.
In the 70th minute, a red card was issued to Welsh striker Kayleigh Green after her determination led to her catch the ankles of a French midfielder after missing the ball in a 1 on 1 situation. France didn’t hold back and piled the pressure back on up until the 80th minute.
Gemma Evans was unlucky not to score in the 86th minute, but a handball in the build up would have seen it cancelled out. Straight after this, Jess Fishlock had a fine double chance hitting the crossbar from inside the box after a previous shot was blocked by the French defence.
It wasn’t long until France had the ball again though, and scored to make it 2-0 in a mean counterattack which put the game to bed. An outside of the box shot by Selma Bacha put the Welsh away sweetly.
The Welsh women’s team don’t play now until April 2022, where they face France again in their first game back in the final step of group stage qualification. Let’s hope for revenge next year!