Cymru remain in the hunt for qualification to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup following a fine performance and 3-0 win over Kazakhstan at the Astana Arena in Nur-Sultan.
Kazakhstan 0-3 Cymru
FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifier
- Tuesday, 12 April 2022
- Astana Arena, Nur-Sultan
Natasha Harding celebrated earning her 100th cap with a goal in a dominant display as Gemma Grainger’s team got over the disappointment of losing to group leaders France on Friday after running them so close in Llanelli.
Kazakhstan were looking to frustrate Cymru early on in this match with physical play and putting all of their players behind the ball. However, the home team were unable to keep Cymru at bay and on the 30th minute, there was a breakthrough.
Kayleigh Green had returned to the starting line-up following suspension and when she received the ball from Angharad James on the edge of the box, the Cymru striker was allowed space to turn and pick her spot to make it 1-0.
Cymru were piling the pressure on the Kazakhstan defence and it looked like the class of Sophie Ingle had opened up an opportunity to double the lead. Ingle hit a lovely strike from outside the box that clipped the goalpost.
A second goal was to come. With a cross from the left, Ceri Holland picked out Harding at the far post where she was able to just place the ball over the line for 2-0. It was a dream goal on a very special occasion for Harding.
Cymru made it 3-0 in the second half to comfortably secure all three points, when James threaded a pass into the box for Jess Fishlock. The Cymru legend steadied herself before striking across the goal to nestle the ball inside the left post.
Harding on 100
Natasha Harding made her debut in May 2008 against Switzerland and is the latest player to enter the Cymru 100 club.
Talking to BBC Wales following the match, Harding expressed her pride having represented her country for the 100th time: “It was an emotional one, I could hardly sing the anthem.
“I’m so proud to be wearing this shirt.”
Next for Cymru
There’s just two games left for Cymru in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifiers.
Cymru are away to Greece on Friday, 2 September before what could be a winner takes all match for a place in the World Cup Play-Offs against Slovenia at home on Tuesday, 6 September.
Cymru: O'Sullivan, Roberts (Morgan 75’), Ladd, Evans, Rowe, Ingle (capt), Harding (Hughes 85’), Fishlock, James, Holland (Woodham 61’), K Green (Jones 75’). Substitutes not used: Clark, Soper, J Green, Ward, Hughes, Estcourt, Walters, Wynne, Filbey.
Goals: Green 29’, Harding 42’, Fishlock 65’
Kazakhstan: Ismailova, Demidova, Aitymova, Myasnikova (capt), Nurusheva, Burova, Sadykova (Turlybekova 45’), Zhumabaikyzy, Kozhakmet (Koziyeva 68’), Vlassova (Kuztay 90’), Satygaliyeva (Orynbasarova 80’). Substitutes not used: Zeinali, Shalmukhanbetova, Mukashova, Bortnikova, Karazhanova.