AFTER 687 minutes without conceding a goal in the qualifying campaign, Wales conceded three in 12 minutes against a dominant England at Rodney Parade to leave their World Cup hopes hanging in the balance.

The technical superiority of Phil Neville’s team eventually told on a balmy night in Newport as the brave Welsh resistance was ended after 57 minutes of the contest.

Goals from Toni Duggan, Jill Scott and Nikita Parris earned the Lionesses a deserved victory and ensured that they will be at next year’s World Cup.

Wales had begun with plenty of hope and they carved out the first chance of the night in the third minute when Kylie Nolan’s cross was deflected behind and Rhiannon Roberts headed wide from the corner.

But it was a match dominated by England in terms of possession and they thought they had the all-important breakthrough in the sixth minute.

Parris, who had seen a header easily gathered by Wales stopper Laura O’Sullivan a minute earlier, had the ball in the net but she was denied by the assistant’s raised flag – much to the delight of the passionate home support.

Hayley Ladd managed to deflect Alex Greenwood’s shot onto the bar and Parris was adjudged to be in an offside position when she tucked away the rebound.

Angharad James tried her luck from distance for the hosts and got her shot on target but England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley was in position to nonchalantly pluck it out of the air.

But most of the opportunities were at the other end.

Jordan Nobbs lashed an effort wide from the edge of the area after Duggan’s free-kick was half cleared by the Welsh defence.

Jodie Taylor had a half-hearted penalty appeal dismissed before the striker almost capitalised on an error by O’Sullivan but Ladd helped to snuff out the danger.

Another Duggan free-kick was on target but lacked the power or the placement to beat O’Sullivan as the Lionesses continued to prowl while passing the ball with impressive composure on the Newport playing surface, which had been narrowed to the limit of UEFA regulations.

England were aggrieved by the early offside decision but Wales will feel they should have had a penalty before the break as Bardsley looked to take the ball and the ankle of Green in the box.

The second half saw the visitors set up camp in the Wales half as they tried to find a way through the stubborn home defence.

Duggan saw a shot deflected behind by Loren Dykes and Nobbs skied another effort from 25 yards.

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The pressure was building and the dam finally burst in the 57th minute after O’Sullivan had done well to smother a close-range attempt by Taylor.

The ball came out to Fran Kirby and she cleverly squared it to Duggan to curl it past Welsh captain Sophie Ingle on the line.

That deflated the home fans and before they or Jayne Ludlow’s team could recover it was 2-0.

Lucy Bronze chipped the ball back into the box after a corner was only half cleared and Scott’s looping header dropped over the despairing dive of O’Sullivan and into the net.

That left the hosts with an uphill task and it was game over on 69 minutes as Parris finally got the goal she thought she’d scored in the first half.

O’Sullivan couldn’t hold on to Greenwood’s free-kick and Taylor’s cross was headed in on the line by Parris to seal England’s passage to France.

After a fantastic campaign, Wales will have to wait to see if they are amongst the four best runners-up to make the play-offs for next year’s tournament.

Wales: O’Sullivan, Dykes, Ingle, Ladd, Roberts, Harding (Morgan, 90), James, Fishlock, Nolan (Hughes, 61), Ward (Vincze, 73), Green

Subs not used: Skinner, Evans, Griffiths, Lawrence

Referee: Katalin Kulcsar (Hungary)

Attendance: 5,053

Argus star player: Fishlock