Kick off: 19:50 Wednesday, 4 Apr 2012
Location: Stade D'Ornano, Caen, France.
Fixture Type: UEFA Women's Euro 2013 Qualifier
The Wales women's team lost 4-0 to France in Caen this evening.
The game was a lesson for Wales in creating chances and finishing. France had a forward in Elodie Thomis who was at the top of her game and scored a hat-trick. A fourth goal from substitute Camille Abily came ten minutes from time as Wales looked to hold-on.
In fairness, few gave Wales any chance of being able to live with the talented French side who have taken Group 4 by storm. However, just as in the first game at Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli, Wales certainly showed that the team was ready to give their all.
The French took the lead after 9 minutes, but Wales held-firm for another half an hour before a second goal was conceded with seven minutes of the first half left.
During half time, Wales manager, Jarmo Matikainen too the opportunity to replace Gwennan Harries with the speedy Helen Bleazard but France wrapped the game-up just five minutes into the second half with Thiney getting her hat-trick.
From then on substitutes began to arrive on both sides, with Wales giving experience to young striker Hannah Keryakoplis and new defender Kayleigh Green.
By the end of the evening, Wales could look back and say that they had certainly given France a game, but hardly any shots on goal for Wales told its own story. France had plenty, and could have scored more, but some fine defensive work kept them out.
Wales will take heart from getting through this game and can now concentrate on a strong finish in the group to try and improve on their ranking position for future tournaments. Plenty for manager Matikainen to be positive about, but how he must wish for a goalscorer like Elodie Thomis!
- Earlier Piece From Robert Clement Setting the Scene for the Game -
With the Welsh Women’s squad having settled into their accommodation in North East Caen, in preparation for their UEFA Championship 2013 qualifier on Wednesday evening, team manager Jarmo Matikainen was interviewed by Robert Clement at the hotel based facilities.
Following the match preparations, at the Stade Michel d’Ornamo on Tuesday, he was asked how important the forthcoming game was going to be, especially following the progress the players having made recently, against good opposition in the Algarve Cup a month ago.
“I think that the development process that was set up and started eighteen months ago is going in the right direction, and we are progressing. Of course, we also know that in international football everything takes time to get things in place and work with the team, but I’m pleased with the progress and the development that we have made so far”.
He added, “Obviously the Algarve Cup was a great opportunity again, to work on things that we started last Autumn, and in addition to that it was a chance to integrate new players, because that has also been needed during the last year and during the current qualification, which is never easy”.
And it proved to be rewarding, with wins against hosts Portugal along with Hungary and a draw against the Republic of Ireland.
“Yes, I think that the results were obviously a bonus, I was looking at our performance in certain areas to continue progress during the last two European Championship games, with a 2-2 draw in Scotland, followed by a 2-0 victory in Israel, where we claimed good results. They highlighted the improved defence work which has been getting better in that area, and having matches against some tough opponents you have to be in good shape”.
You’re in Caen, playing against France who lead the group table; it’s obviously going to be a stern test with the players needing to be at their best.
“Of course, France are the team in Europe at the moment, they were certainly the best in last summer’s World Cup in Germany and went to the semi-finals, so the opposition does not get any better than that, but that is international football. We look at it as a great opportunity and challenge to see where we are at the moment, and obviously the whole event where they are expecting a very big crowd in a great stadium, we are certainly looking to it as a challenge, along with the way we play”.