Wales women face toughest of tests in England, says coach Jarmo Matikainen
2:16pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in Sport
WALES coach Jarmo Matikainen is under no illusions about the size of the task ahead of his team as they face England in London in their FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier on Saturday evening.
Wales beat Belarus 1-0 in their opening game of the qualifying campaign at Cardiff City Stadium in September.
But England have recovered superbly from a disappointing European Championships in the summer with a 6-0 win over Belarus and an 8-0 victory over Turkey so far and Matikainen is expecting a tough test at Millwall’s The Den.
“The England side is one of the top teams in the world,” said the Finnish-born Wales coach.
“They are ranked 11th in the world, fifth in Europe, so one of the real top teams.
“They are defiantly one of the best teams in the world and it is always difficult to play against a team like them when they have had a disappointing tournament, because they want to prove people wrong.
“But it is a great opportunity for us to see where we are in our journey and I know that the players will want to test themselves.
“Saturday is three points, no more, no less, so nothing will be decided then,” he added.
“You always have a chance in a football match. We want to be at the races until the end of the campaign and most of the matches are in 2014. Somehow, we need to bridge the gap between November and those games in 2014.
“I want to continue looking at youngsters to join the squad. The building process is all-important and I would not rule-out some new faces from the youth squads to be promoted.”
“I also have an in-put into the domestic game too, so over the next few months I want to see the game continue to grow in Wales and see some good competition between domestic sides and youngsters pushing-on. I also want to ensure that we can help to give those clubs the best back-up and advice we can as an FA, whether it is medical, nutritional or administrative. I am always impatient when trying to make a difference - whether with clubs or players. I want to see the overall structure improve and that can only help the international set-up.”
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