Wales in Women’s World Cup play-offs after Slovenia draw with wins for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland | Soccer News

Wales booked their place in the World Cup play-offs with a goalless draw against Slovenia in front of a record crowd in Cardiff.

On a tense night in Cardiff, Wales – who have never qualified for a major women’s tournament – knew a point would seal their place among the hopefuls next month.

Just 1,745 fans attended the start of Wales’ World Cup campaign against Kazakhstan at Llanelli almost a year ago.

But expectations rose in 12 months and a record crowd of 12,741 – more than double the previous record of 5,445 – turned out to see if Gemma Grainger’s side could get closer to the FIFA World Cup finals. next summer in Australia and New Zealand.

Wales did it, despite not being at their best, thanks in large part to a compact defense that kept third-placed Slovenia below them in Group I.

Tottenham midfielder Angharad James has won his 100th cap, aged 28, the youngest of nine men’s and women’s players from Wales to do so.

But Jess Fishlock, Wales’ most capped player, was on the bench again after missing Friday’s 1-0 win in Greece through injury.

Wales started nervously as if all too aware of the scale of the game. Rachel Rowe’s error allowed Mateja Zver to advance on the home goal and shoot directly at Laura O’Sullivan.

Wales played to record crowds at Cardiff City Stadium

Zver was a creative force early on, and the Slovenian captain played a deft one-two with Lara Prasnikar before launching a drive just over the crossbar.

Wales slowly settled in and a sweeping move saw Sophie Ingle free Carrie Jones for a shot that was saved safely by Zala Mersnik in the visitors’ goal.

Green then put Ingle 12 yards out but the Wales captain sent her volley just wide of Mersnik’s post. Jones was off target with another attempt and Wales continued to have the lead after the break. James fired straight at Mersnik and Wales had to regret the absence of VAR after 51 minutes.

Wales manager Gemma Grainger celebrates after her side reached the World Cup play-offs
Wales manager Gemma Grainger celebrates after her side reached the World Cup play-offs

Dominika Conc slid into the back of Jones, who was just inside the penalty area, but Ukrainian referee Kateryna Monzul waved to play.

Mersnik made saves from Jones, Wales’ most dangerous player, and Gemma Evans, whose free header from five yards was straight at the Slovenian keeper and struck wide.

Zver scared the hosts away with a 18-yard gap but in the end the celebrations belonged to Wales and the hope of emulating their men’s side by taking part in a World Cup. They will discover their opponents in the play-offs during the draw on Friday.

O’Sullivan sees Ireland representative on the brink of World Cup final

Senec, Slovakia - September 6, 2022;  Denise O'Sullivan of the Republic of Ireland celebrates with her team mates after scoring her team's first goal during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 Qualifying match between Slovakia and the Republic of Ireland at the National Center drive from Senec, Slovakia.  (Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Denise O’Sullivan scored the game’s only goal in the Republic of Ireland victory

Denise O’Sullivan sent the Republic of Ireland potentially within a game of the World Cup finals in Australia and New Zealand after finishing Group A with a win in Slovakia.

O’Sullivan’s arrival in the first half secured a 1-0 win for Senec to ensure Ireland are one of the top three seeded teams in the October play-offs and move straight into second phase accordingly.

Vera Pauw’s side had already secured second place in the group and a play-off spot with a win over Finland last week, but they could now be less than 90 minutes away from a first-ever trip to the final.

Pauw was forced to make changes replacing injured duo Megan Connolly and Niamh Fahey and suspended Jamie Finn with Claire O’Riordan, Harriet Scott and, making her first competitive start after scoring the winner against Finns, Lily Agg .

The visitors enjoyed a brighter start and although Slovakian skipper Dominika Skorvankova fired from range in the 22nd minute, Katie McCabe forced Maria Korenciova into a stoppage seconds later.

Diane Caldwell volleyed in to knock down Louise Quinn in the 34th minute, before Ireland took the lead three minutes later.

Jess Ziu came forward and sent O’Sullivan, who played the ball past Heather Payne before racing to meet the striker’s withdrawal and shoot right-footed past Korenciova.

In a scrappy second half, McCabe sent a 59th-minute volley just over the angle of the bar and post, but chances were scarce at either end.

O’Riordan saw a hacked shot in the 73rd minute after McCabe’s dangerous free-kick was assisted as Ireland tried to kill a close encounter.

However, with the hosts offering little in attacking strength, Ireland remained relatively untroubled at the back and were able to claim victory with few real scares.

Victories for Scotland, Northern Ireland

Scotland concluded the group stage of their 2023 Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign with a 6-0 victory over the Faroe Islands in Torshavn.

Pedro Martinez Losa’s side, who had already booked their place in the play-offs after finishing second in Group B, scored three goals in the final five minutes of the first half to effectively wrap up victory.

Nicola Docherty’s opening opener was boosted by fast highs from Caroline Weir, Erin Cuthbert and Martha Thomas.

Rachel Corsie headed Scotland further in the 53rd minute and then Jen Beattie wrapped up a dominating display with her team’s sixth in the 68th minute.

North Ireland capitalized on three own goals to cap off their Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign with a 3-1 victory in Latvia.

Anastasija Rocane opened the scoring from the right side for the hosts but an own goal from keeper Enija-Anna Vaivode brought Kenny Shiels’ side level before the break.

Arta Luize Lubina deflected a corner into his own net two minutes from time before Vaivode conceded his second own goal in stoppage time as Northern Ireland confirmed third place in Group D.

Sky Sports

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