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Wales Out To End Their 10-Hour Goal Wait As The Ferns Tune Up For World Cup

Jayne Ludlow insists there will be no panic in Cardiff tonight (Tuesday) despite the fact her Wales team are seeking a first goal in over 10 hours of football.

New Zealand – fresh from a stunning 1-0 victory over England at the weekend – are the opponents at Leckwith Stadium, where Wales aim to end their drought.

The friendly will offer Ludlow some pointers before the Euro 2021 qualification campaign begins, against opponents who must now be considered a dark horse at the World Cup which begins in France on Friday.

It is now seven matches since Wales scored – a comparative glut when they thrashed Russia 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier – but Ludlow says: “A lot of things we know work.

“We will try and be hard to beat but we are working hard on trying to create chances.

“We have been creating them, but we need to start taking the chances, that is true.”

Wales have chosen to rest both Jess Fishlock and Angharad James, while Rachel Rowe is still sidelined with a knee injury.

But it is still likely to be a strong side, captained by Sophie Ingle, against opponents who specialise in making their own resources go a long way.

“New Zealand is a tough challenge for us, they are at peak fitness and at a certain level, which is why they are at the World Cup,” added Ludlow.

“Hopefully we can show what we can do against a good team. Our main competition is further away, but we are trying to do well in specific areas ahead of our qualifying games.”

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Georgia Evans could return for the first time since 2017 while Ludlow may also give a debut to the uncapped Lily Woodham. The defender started in all three of the U19s’ 2019 European qualifying round matches last October.

New Zealand coach Tom Sermanni said the world No.19 Ferns’ first win over number three ranked England in four attempts was an important milestone for his side.

Sarah Gregorius’ 50th-minute goal proved the difference between the two teams at the Amex Stadium in Brighton and Sermanni said: “I think getting a result like that gives the group such a boost of confidence.

“That was a game at the level of Australia and the US [who the Ferns have lost to this year], so we knew how tough it was going to be, and the difference was that we’d had some time together.

“Although England, possession-wise, dominated the game, we were still able to hang in and stay in the game and the longer the game went on, the better we looked.”

Wales (from): Laura O’Sullivan, Olivia Clark, Sophie Ingle, Hayley Ladd, Loren Dykes, Gemma Evans, Rhiannon Roberts, Lily Woodham, Natasha Harding, Chloe Lloyd, Anna Filbey, Kylie Nolan, Charlie Estcourt, Elise Hughes, Emma Jones, Megan Wynne, Helen Ward, Kayleigh Green, Ella Powell, Georgia Evans.

New Zealand (from): Erin Nayler, Ria Percival, CJ Bott, Paige Satchell, Meikayla Moore, Ali Riley, Abby Erceg, Sarah Gregorius, Betsy Hassett, Annalie Longo, Rosie White, Olivia Chance, Katie Bowen, Anna Green, Emma Kete, Sarah Morton, Katie Duncan, Stephanie Skilton, Daisy Cleverley, Vic Esson, Nadia Olla.

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