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Denmark 3 (Nielsen 4,42,73) Wales 0
Wales played their 100th senior international as part of the 'Matchworld' Friendly tournament in Switzerland against Denmark on Saturday afternoon but it culminated in a second successive defeat as they went down to a strong Danish side.
The game was the second in the tournament for Wales, having lost 2-0 to New Zealand in the opening match. Wales manager Jarmo Matikainen made just one change from that match, bringing-in Bristol Academy's midfielder Michelle Green for Everton forward Gwennan Harries who is still returning to full fitness.
The match was played at the rural ground of Terrain des planches, in Apples. The pitch was heavy in places due to heavy overnight rain, but both sides adapted to the conditions well. Over the 90 minutes, the 300 spectators saw sun and heavy rain showers.
As in the match with New Zealand, Wales fell behind to an early goal. After just four minutes, Denmark's Sanne Troelsgaard Nielsen hit a cross-cum-shot that found the top corner of the net from some 20 yards out. Not the ideal start against a side that had narrowly missed-out on World Cup Final qualification.
The final fifteen minutes saw Wales go close with an effort from Michelle Green, but the Danes were never in any difficulties. Denmark continued to dominate the midfield area with some very slick passing on a pitch that generally good, but very soft in places. Pernille Mosegaard Harder was an inspiration in midfield and most of their quality moves came through her. The Wales midfield was forced to chase shadows for long periods as the Danes always seemed to have more options for the next pass.
After 40 minutes, Wales sent on Harries for Nia Jones, as the team looked to gain a foothold in the match, but minutes later they were caught once again with a second goal by Nielsen, again with a shot that went over the head of goalkeeper Rhian Nokes. It was a real blow, as Wales had begun to come back into the contest.
The second spell saw Denmark continue to dominate, though every now and again the speed of Jessica Fishlock and Helen Bleazard did cause them problems, but Helen Lander was starved of quality serivce up front.
Jarmo Matikainen began to ring the changes by introducing Amie Lea and Cheryl Foster for Loren Dykes and Lander and their extra pace did give Wales more options. However, Nielsen completed her hat-trick on 73 minutes when she took advantage of a mix up in the Welsh defence that saw Nokes out of position and the ball was slammed into an empty net.
The final fifteen minutes saw Wales go close with an effort from Michelle Green, but the Danes were never in any difficulties. The final score of 3-0 was in no way flattering to the Danes who showed what a gulf in class still exists within the European sides. For Wales, the positives were good performances from Bleazard and Sophie Ingle in defence. This tournament was always going to be a learning experience for Wales and so it is proving.
Wales wrap up the tournament on Monday in Natters when they play Columbia, another nation preparing for the World Cup.
Wales: Rhian Nokes, Kylie Davies, Sally Wade, Sophie Ingle (sub Lauren Price 87mins), Emma Jones, Nia Jones (sub Gwennan Harries 40mins), Loren Dykes (sub Amie Lea 71mins), Michelle Green, Helen Lander (sub Cheryl Foster 81mins), Helen Bleazard, Jessica Fishlock.
Denmark: Stine Petersen, Line Hansen, Katrine Pedersen, Christina Orntoft, Sanne Nielsen, Julie Bukh, Pernille Harder (sub Ema Madsen 67mins), Nanna Christiansen, Kristine Pedersen, Anja Thorsen, Theresa Nielsen.
(Report by www.faw.org.uk)
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