Gemma Grainger insists Wales are not getting carried away

·2-min read

Gemma Grainger has warned about the dangers of Wales getting ahead of themselves in their bid to qualify for the World Cup.

Wales meet Greece in their penultimate qualifier in Volos on Friday, knowing victory could tee up a momentous night against Slovenia at the Cardiff City Stadium four days later.

Grainger’s side need four points from the two games to secure a place in October’s play-offs, and 9,500 tickets have already been sold for the Slovenia finale to guarantee a national women’s team record attendance.

Head coach Grainger said: “There’s a danger that people can start to look ahead at this point.

“People talk about play-offs. I say: ‘Yes, the play-offs do exist but we’re not currently in the play-offs.’

“We know what the target is, but our focus is very much on Greece and we’ll flip to Slovenia after the game.

“Once we get to that point there’s so much to be excited about.

Wales v Greece – FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – UEFA Qualifier – Group I – Parc y Scarlets
Kayleigh Green celebrates scoring in Wales’ 5-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Greece in Llanelli last November (Nick Potts/PA)

“But Greece could still mathematically qualify, so I’m sure they’ll want to make sure they perform in this game.”

Wales thrashed Greece 5-0 in the reverse fixture last November on a night when sleet and snow swirled around Llanelli’s Parc y Scarlets.

Weather conditions in Volos will be completely different, with temperatures expected to touch 26 degrees Celsius despite the 8pm local kick-off time.

Grainger said: “The British summer we’ve had has helped us as the girls have been through a pretty hot pre-season.

Sophie Ingle file photo
Captain Sophie Ingle believes there is a new winning mentality in the current Wales squad (Nick Potts/PA)

“We’ll have the cooling strategies and everything in place, but with this team’s mentality and focus it could be anything.

“We saw that with the snow in Llanelli. There was one team that absolutely delivered that evening and these girls will do that, whatever the conditions are.”

Captain Sophie Ingle has been part of several failed Wales qualifying campaigns in the past.

The Chelsea midfielder said: “There’s a lot of elements that come into play, with mentality probably being the main one.

“When we’ve fallen short in the past we’ve been a bit naive maybe.

“We were obviously younger and not so experienced, but now it’s about believing that we can do it.

“In the past we said we believed, but did we really as a whole

“I think now the full squad believes we can compete against the top teams.”