Wales faced Portugal in their final match of the UEFA Women’s U19 Championship Elite Round. Although José Paisana’s Portugal had suffered defeat in their previous two games, Wales didn't go into this match in the belief it would be any easier.
UEFA WOMEN'S U19 CHAMPIONSHIP ELITE ROUND
- Sunday, 8 April 2018
- Centro de Treino, Luso
Wales head coach Kat Lovett made three changes to the starting XI that faced Serbia, bringing in defenders Ellie Lake and Elise Hughes, in addition to midfielder Alice Griffiths.
Hughes and Griffiths were both members of the senior squad for Wales’ excellent draw against England Lionesses and the duo travelled directly to Portugal to meet up with the U19 squad for the final match against the host nation.
An evenly matched opening 10 minutes, was followed by Wales pressing higher that provided good opportunities for Bronwen Thomas and Alice Griffiths but both efforts were saved by Portugal’s goalkeeper Diaz.
With a vocal home crowd behind them, it wasn’t until the 22nd minute that hosts Portugal had their first attempt at goal, posing little threat to Wales, as Ines’ long range shot cleared the bar.
A period of good possession for Portugal resulted in a further shot from Ines following a free kick outside the box in the 28th minute. The shot being securely saved by Emily Clarke.
Good defensive work from Shaunna Jenkins gave Wales the opportunity to win possession and result in an encouraging spell of attacking play with three consecutive shots on goal.
The attempts from Emily Jones and Ella Powell unfortunately went wide and Bronwen Thomas' shot was saved by Diaz. Portugal raised the tempo as a result and matched Wales’ attempts with shots on goal from Faria and Besugo in the 34th minute, each saved by Clarke.
The breakthrough came following a corner delivered by Gwen Davies in the 48th minute. Amina Vine scored from the set piece, slotting the ball in to the corner of the goal.
Wales continued to pose an attacking threat with further attempts on goal from Cassia Pike and Alice Griffiths, which were again stopped by the Portugal keeper.
Portugal, eager to level the score, saw further attempts on goal thwarted by keeper Clark. Notable were saves to deny Amado and Rebimbas, ensuring that Vine’s goal was the difference for Wales to win their final game of the UEFA Women’s U19 Championship Elite round.
Reflecting on the match, Head Coach Kat Lovett said: “Portugal were as technically good as we expected and were very good in possession. I thought we did well to try and counteract that and get the ball off them quickly.
Our press worked well, and players worked really hard to not give Portugal much time on the ball.
We stepped it up a gear in the second half by getting higher up the pitch, having more effect on the ball in different areas and ensuring to win the ball back quickly in counter attack.”
On the goal, Lovett added: “I’m really happy to see we scored off a set piece because we’ve been focussing on that a lot over this camp, both defensively and in attacking so that’s been really positive.”
Wales:12. Olivia Clark, 3. Ellie Lake, 4. Gwen Davies (C), 5. Shaunna Jenkins, 6. Amelia Ritchie, 7. Amina Vine, 8. Bronwen Thomas, 11. Lily Woodham, (14. Pike 62’), (16. Poole 79’), 17. Emily Jones, (18. Dukes 46’), 19. Alice Griffiths, 20. Elise Hughes.
Portugal:1.Carolina Dias, 2. Inês Queiroga, 4. Catarina Pereira, 5. Cláudia Machado, 6. Maria Inês, 7. Joana Martins, 8. Neuza Besugo, 9. Bruna Costa, 10. Andreia Faria, (11. Rebimbas 31’), 13. Ana Beatriz Correia, (16. Lopes Varela 77’), (18. Torcato Macedo ’61), 19. Catarina Amado (C).