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Always a big occasion - Natasha
 Women's Football Wales International News - 6 Apr 2018
 
Natasha Harding admits Wales will be on a mission in Southampton, desperate to get one over on rivals England in the battle for World Cup qualification.
 
Harding, who moved to Reading in January from Liverpool, is determined to cement Wales' position at the top of World Cup qualifying - they are presently a point ahead of England having played a game more.
 
The Reading striker is aware of the challenge that awaits her Wales team mates, with England rejuvenated under new boss Phil Neville and having moved up to a new high of second in the FIFA world rankings behind the USA.
 
England are certainly the team to beat in the group - Bosnia, Russia and Kazakhstan make up the pool - but Harding is convinced Wales can upset the odds on April 6th at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium.
 
To make the tie even more appealing to Harding, it will be an opportunity to lock horns with Reading team mate and England stalwart Fara Williams on the South Coast.
 
"It's massive and I think that whenever you mention England versus Wales in any sport, it's always a big occasion and there's always a bit of a fanfare," she said.
 
"I think the ones that are a bit less experienced in the game will probably enjoy it and the things around it, the media attention that everyone will have.
 
"Hopefully, it will be a good spectacle for everyone involved. There's always a bit of banter between everyone. I can take enough banter and take the mick out of myself anyway, so I can take it in good stead.
 
"The Welsh girls always give it to the England girls to be fair, as well. As an experienced player, I think I've had bad memories in the past of playing England but this time around, we're trying to see it as any other game.
 
"I think we've all taken a picture of the group at the minute because we're top! Whether we stay there or not, I don't know.
 
"We've worked really hard and we've come to a point in our group with Wales that if we can win, no matter how we perform, it just shows the character that we've built."
 
Despite admitting an intense rivalry exists between England and Wales - Harding revealed to looking enviously at England's performances in major championships. Last year, England qualified for the semi finals of the European Championships in Holland and Harding is determined to follow in their footsteps. But to achieve their dream of World Cup qualification, Harding knows a positive result against England is a must in Southampton.
 
"We want to get to a major tournament, and that's what England have done - they're a very, very good team," she added. "They're one of the top five teams in the world. They have very good individual players and they're a great team.
 
"We can't just see them as England, though - we have to just see it as a big game.
 
"Some of the England girls are great role models and they've competed in World Cups and European Champs every time they come around, so they're very good as a nation.
 
"But they've had new staff and hopefully, we can put the cat among the pigeons and make it a really hard game for them.
 
"We always say that it's really tough to play away games but this one is almost like a home game, being in England, and all of the family will be there."
 
by Daniel Barnes, Sportsbeat
 

 
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