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Wales go down on penalties

Wales 0 Belgium 0

Belgium won 3-1 on penalties

Wales will play the Republic of Ireland in a third-place play off in the Pinatar Cup following a goalless draw and a penalty shoot-out loss to Belgium in the semi-final.

Gemma Grainger made four changes to the side that beat Scotland 3-1 only 72 hours earlier, handing a first start to goalkeeper Olivia Clark and putting her faith in youngsters Lily Woodham and Charlie Estcourt as the two full backs. Angharad James returned to the starting eleven after being used as a sub against the Scots.

Wales started brightly and almost took the lead on four minutes as Jessica Fishlock’s close range half volley flew over the bar. The first half was a very even affair fought in the centre of the park amid windy conditions in the Pinatar Arena, with Marie Minnaert coming closest for Belgium with a close range miss.

Ffion Morgan and Gemma Evans were brought on for the second half, and Ffion’s energy on the wing created several Wales chances, including a Kayleigh Green header which went straight towards the Belgian keeper. At the opposite end, Olivia Clark was forced into a superb save, denying Wijnants a clear chance in front of goal. Wales’ final change of the match saw midfielder Chloe Williams handed her international debut, replacing Fishlock in the middle of the park.

Wales’ best chance of the match also came in the second half, as substitute Megan Wynne saw her effort after a well worked move narrowly miss the target by inches. Following the chance, Wales survived an onslaught of Belgian set pieces in the closing stages to take the match to penalties.

With very little penalty shootout experience in the Welsh squad, three attempts were saved by Diede Lemey, seeing the Belgians through to the final.

Wales: Olivia Clark, Lily Woodham, Sophie Ingle, Rhiannon Roberts, Charlie Estcourt, Angharad James, Jessica Fishlock (sub Chloe Williams 76mins), Carrie Jones (sub Gemma Evans 45mins), Ceri Holland (sub Ffion Morgan 45mins), Natasha Harding (sub Megan Wynne 64mins), Kayleigh Green. Subs not used: Laura O’Sullivan, Poppy Soper, Chloe Bull, Helen Ward, Elise Hughes, Anna Filbey, Georgia Walters, Morgan Rogers.