by Martin Townley (5/9/22)
Above: Wales are hoping for plenty of celebrations tomorrow night when they could clinch a first-ever World Cup Play-Off spot. Photo: FAW.
Wales will face Slovenia on Tuesday at Cardiff City Stadium in their final World Cup Qualifier needing just a draw to secure a place in the World Cup Play-offs and will have the backing of a record crowd set be over 10,000.
Gemma Grainger’s side stand on the brink of history and will be the first Welsh women’s side to make a major tournament play-off. A 1-0 win away to Greece on Friday night leaves a play-off place in Wales’s own hands thanks to Carrie Jones’ goal.
Slovenia could, with a win, overtake Wales in Group I and steal second place and a play-off place. Sara Makovec and Mateja Zver both scored as Slovenia kept their qualification hopes alive with a 2-0 win over Kazakhstan.
When the sides met back in October last year the match ended 1-1. Manja Rogan giving the hosts the lead with Kayleigh Green equalising two minutes after. Shortly after scoring Green was shown a red card for a second booking leaving Wales to hold on for what may turn out to be a vital away point.
Despite only needing a point Wales manager Gemma Grainger told BBC Sport,
“We have put ourselves in this position where we need only a point, but we’ll absolutely prepare to go and win that game because they are the standards that we have as a team. They are the standards whoever we play.
“We know what position we have put ourselves in and we know now that we will flip to Slovenia,” Grainger added.
With a record crowd at Cardiff for the game, Grainger emphasised the importance of the fans to the team,
“The fans are huge to us, we have broken the record by a long way, but we want to see more than 10,000 because they are huge.
“We have seen it with Rob [Page] and the men’s team and now it’s our turn. The fans will make the difference.”
Wales star Jess Fishlock was on the bench for the game against Greece after picking up an injury. There is no news as yet as to whether or not Fishlock will start against Slovenia, so it’s likely that Wales will remain unchanged from the team that started against Greece.
This game will be a tense affair with so much on the line for both teams but with the Red Wall in full force Wales at Cardiff is a tough task for any team.