History created. Cymru have broken new grounds and reached the Play-Offs of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
For the first time ever Cymru will move beyond the qualifying group for a major tournament and will learn their play-off fate on Friday (9 September) at 12:30pm.
Gemma Grainger’s team came into this match needing just a point to progress but a win for Slovenia would have seen them leapfrog Cymru in the group.
A record crowd of 12,471 were in Cardiff City Stadium to watch history being made and they saw a frantic start to the match with both teams fired up for this crucial qualifier.
Slovenian captain Mateja Zver was their most impressive player on the night and was involved in all of their key chances as she looked to break Welsh hearts.
Zver was denied by O’Sullivan early in the game, sent a fantastic strike over the bar that skimmed the goal netting, and late on in the match thought she’d found the winner when the ball curled painstakingly wide of the Cymru goal.
Cymru also created their fare share of chances to win this fixture with Carrie Jones impressing once again. Several times Jones was on the end of some lovely passages of play but was denied by Slovenian goalkeeper Zala Maršnik.
Angharad James, making her 100th appearance, had an opportunity to take the headlines on her big night but her shot was also saved by Maršnik.
Cymru’s best chance of the game came from a 71st minute corner when Gemma Evans ran onto the ball for a free header inside the box. It looked destined for the back of the net but somehow Maršnik punched the ball off the line.
Cymru managed the end of the game well, keeping the ball high up the pitch. At the final whistle, there were scenes of absolute joy as the players celebrated reaching the play-offs for the FIFA World Cup finals in Australia and New Zealand in July/August 2023.
Sophie Ingle speaking to BBC Wales following the match:
“I’m ecstatic. We dug deep, they’re a great team, a physical team, and they battled until the end. I don’t know how we didn’t score but we got the result we needed.
“We were compact at times, we were a bit spread when they were transitioning, but our backline was fantastic.
“A lot of family and friends are here and the fans, over 12,000, it’s amazing that we’ve beaten the record again. I wanted the goal for them mainly.”
Angharad James on 100 caps:
“It’s a very special moment [to reach 100 caps]. The focus was on getting the point but now I will enjoy the moment with my team-mates and my family.
“This is for my family tonight. They supported me from day one. I can’t thank them enough.
“Gemma Grainger has given us all a lot of confidence. You could see the belief out there today. Hopefully there’s a lot more to come.”
Carrie Jones talking to BBC Wales:
“I honestly can’t put it into words. It’s the best day ever – it means so much to put this shirt on. The girls fought so hard and I am so proud of everyone, not just the people on the pitch but the staff in the background.
“Everyone has put in a massive shift to get us to this point and I am unbelievably proud right now. This group is unreal. Every single person, everyone that’s been in camp, deserves a massive pat on the back.”
Cymru: O’Sullivan, Roberts, Ladd, Evans, Rowe, Ingle (capt), James, Harding, Jones, Holland, K Green (Morgan 89’). Subs: Clark, Middleton-Patel, Woodham, J Green, Ward, Fishlock, Hughes, Estcourt, Walters, Wynne, Filbey.
Slovenia: Mersnik, Erzen, Golob, Agrez, Erman (Krizaj 79’), Conc, Korosec, Kolbl (Milovic 68’), Rogan (Kustrin 68’), Zver (capt), Prasnikar. Subs: Galjot, Nemet, Gradisek, Rozmaric, Klopcic, Makovec,,, Babnik, Vindisar.
CYMRU 0-0 SLOVENIA
FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifier
- Tuesday, 6 September 2022
- Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff