Wales have the opportunity to reclaim top spot in Group 1 on Tuesday night when Jayne Ludlow's side host Russia at Newport Stadium in their penultimate 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifier (7pm).
2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifiers
Wales v Bosnia & Herzegovina
- 7pm, Tuesday 12 June
- Newport Stadium, Newport
- Live on BBC Two Wales
A solitary goal from striker Kayleigh Green proved to be the difference between Wales and Bosnia at the Liberty Stadium on Thursday night, but while the 1-0 win moved Wales back to the top of the group, England reclaimed pole position on Friday with a 3-1 win over Russia in Moscow.
However, Wales remain undefeated after six games, and incredibly are still yet to concede a single goal, an achievement matched only by Group 3 leaders and European champions the Netherlands.
“We're very proud of the performance and the result,” said Ludlow to the assembled press and media after the match in Swansea on Thursday. “It's kept us on a journey, and I don't think anybody involved at the start of this campaign would have thought that we would be in this position right now. We're obviously still a developing team with things to work on, which showed tonight, but we're extremely happy.”
Despite a dominant second half, Wales were left frustrated at the break as they struggled to find a way past Bosnia, and the reaction of the players was highlighted by the manager. “The group has a whole proved that they do listen to instruction,” Ludlow added. “They went out in the second half and they changed it. We came in half-time and the challenge for us was to make sure that the journey was still going to happen, and they did that. It's kept us on the road to potentially making history, but the next game will decide that.”
It was Green's second goal of the campaign, having also scored the only game against Bosnia in Zenica last November, and the Yeovil Town Ladies forward put in another tireless display that was rewarded on 62 minutes. However, it seemed things may not go Wales' way when Helen Ward's penalty was saved early in the second half, but the character of the side ensured that the 2,645 fans in attendance would have reason to celebrate at the final whistle.
“They had to dig in on times,” explained Ludlow. “The first half, while we did create a few chances, we weren't very pleased about it. We've missed a penalty unfortunately, but we've got the goal we needed. The expectations with regard to our performances is to just be better in certain areas than we have been in the previous game, and that's no different going into Russia. There's areas we can improve on, and there's areas we're actually really pleased with, but there's lots that we can definitely improve on.”
Wales and Russia played out a 0-0 draw in St. Petersburg last October, and while Elena Formina's side have a game in-hand over their opponents, Wales now have a seven-point advantage over Russia heading into Tuesday's match. The seven group winners will automatically qualify for the finals in France, while the four runners-up with the best record against the teams first, third and fourth will head into the play-offs.