The senior Women’s team suffered their first defeat since July 2017 as they were beaten 3-0 by Italy in the Cyprus Cup.
WALES 0-3 ITALY
2018 Cyprus Cup
- Friday, 2 March 2018
- GSZ Stadium, Larnaca
Manager Jayne Ludlow made one change to the team that beat Finland on the opening day of the tournament, bringing in winger Nadia Lawrence.
Elide Martini’s Italian side started the game on the attack, testing a Welsh defence which had achieved five consecutive clean sheets. The run was broken on the 17th minute as striker Cristiana Girelli’s free kick on the edge of the box curled round the Welsh wall and found the bottom corner of Laura O’Sullivan’s goal.
Wales’ defence stood strong as the Italians drove forward during the first half, forcing play out wide and dealing with set pieces effectively but a rare lapse in communication led to an in-direct free kick at the edge of the box which gifted Girelli a second goal as the Italians extended their lead.
The second half saw Wales getting more attacking opportunities, with the Italians looking threatened by the direct running of Kayleigh Green and birthday girl Natasha Harding. Several young players were given game time in the half, including a first cap for Cyncoed Ladies midfielder Gwen Davies.
Despite withstanding the Italian pressure Wales gave away a dubious penalty, but goalkeeper Laura O’Sullivan stepped up to the mark and saved the effort, diving to her left-hand side. However, minutes later Wales were unable to clear from a corner kick and Greta Amadi’s side extended Italy’s lead minutes before the final whistle.
The result means Italy will be playing in the Cyprus Cup Final on 7 March but Wales can still reach the 3rd place play off match.
Getting my first cap was amazing. I was nervous, it was a hard game to play in but nothing's more special than playing for your country.
The Cyprus Cup is seen by the coaching staff as a development opportunity ahead of some key FIFA World Cup qualifying matches over the next 3 months. Jayne Ludlow says the result hasn’t rung any alarm bells.
“This competition has never been about results for us, it’s about our performances. There were some elements in the game today that I was pleased with, but we also made some mistakes that we’ll need to work on now. We gave game time to some of the younger players and they did well when they came on which is what we were looking for.”
Wales: 1 Laura O’Sullivan, 13 Rachel Rowe (15 Amina Vine 84'), 2 Loren Dykes, 4 Sophie Ingle ©, 5 Rhiannon Roberts, 7 Natasha Harding (18 Melissa Fletcher 84'), 11 Nadia Lawrence (21 Kylie Nolan 45'), 10 Jess Fishlock, 8 Angharad James (22 Gwen Davies 77'), 17 Charlie Estcourt (6 Alice Griffiths 45'), 9 Kayleigh Green (19 Hannah Miles 77')
Italy: 12 Chiara Marchiletti, 2 Valentina Bergamaschi, 3 Sara Gama ©, 5 Elena Linari, 6 Manuela Giugliano, 7 Alia Guagni (21 Benedatta Glionna 45'), 8 Martina Rosucci (4 Greta Adami 55'), 10 Cristiana Girelli (9 Daniela Sabatino 45'), 14 Linda Tucceri Cimini (17 Lisa Boattin 69'), 15 Valentina Giacinti, 18 Barbara Bonansea (16 Eleonora Goldoni 69')
Goals: C Girelli 17' 43', G Adami '86
Yellow cards: S Gama 10', K Green 19', R Roberts 50', N Harding 84'