Kayleigh Green has fired Wales to the brink of the World Cup finals. Pic: Getty Sport.

Jayne Ludlow Wants It Loud And Proud When England Enter The Dragons’ Den

Jayne Ludlow wants to hear Wales fans loud and proud when her team face England in their World Cup shoot-out.

The Wales manager has taken her team to the brink of qualification thanks to their stunning 3-0 victory over Russia in Newport on Tuesday night.

The win means Wales are back at the top of qualifying Group One for the FIFA Women’s World Cup next year in France, with one game to go – their clash against the English on August 31.

The venue for that match has yet to be decided, but the FAW have hinted they may well opt for a small tightly-packed ground – such as Newport Stadium at Spytty Park, where the Russians came to grief – rather than the bigger, more difficult to fill Liberty Stadium in Swansea or Cardiff City.

Asked where she wanted the tie against England to be played, Ludlow said: “Somewhere extremely loud – that would suit us.

“A decision hasn’t been made. I’m sure discussions will be had in the next few weeks over what’s the best option for us, but right now I couldn’t tell you what that is.”

Wales have now played seven matches without conceding a single goal, have won five of them, and are just one victory away from making the first tournament finals in the history of Welsh women’s football.

It’s an astonishing achievement for a team with less than a handful of full-time professional players, compared to England’s overwhelmingly full-time squad.

But now England can afford no slip-ups when they come to Wales as a one point gap would be stretched to four should Ludlow’s side win, with the Lionesses having one further match away to Kazakhstan on September 4.

The momentum Wales have gathered in their campaign after a steady start has surprised even former Arsenal midfielder Ludlow, who took charge in 2014.

Wales are just one more win away from the finals and Ludlow admitted: “If someone had said (that) to me when the draw was made, I would have fallen off my chair.

“We’re happy where we’re at. Can we get better? Yes. And if we do that then we’ll challenge anybody on our day.”

“Sometimes the smaller nation step out and do extremely well and prove themselves and that’s what we’ve done,” Ludlow added.

“Nobody expected us to be anywhere near this position come the end of seven games so for us we’ve proved some doubters wrong, some doubters within our own group because they’ve never been able to perform when the pressure was on. We’re showing now that it’s changing.”

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Kayleigh Green scored twice and made a third for Natasha Harding as Wales – who achieved a seventh successive World Cup shut-out – reclaimed top spot in Group One.

England are now a point behind Wales with a game in hand, and their away game against Ludlow’s side on August 31 will determine who books a place at the 2019 finals in France.

Rachel Rowe brought a save from Russia goalkeeper Elvira Todua as a first half of few chances failed to hint at the drama to come.

Green, as she had done in scoring the winner against Bosnia and Herzegovina last Thursday, fired Wales ahead after 48 minutes when she smashed home an angled effort from close range.

The Yeovil Ladies striker then finished off an excellent 61st-minute team move and Helen Ward’s assist with a cute lob over Todua.

Harding finished off Russia from Green’s through ball seven minutes later to guarantee Wales at least second place in the group and a possible play-off spot.

Wales have to inform officials by 2 July where they will stage the remaining game.


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