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Jessica Fishlock gives us her verdict on Wales' narrow 2-1 defeat against Holland in the UEFA Championship qualifying group.......
We met on the Friday night and flew on the Saturday morning, arriving at around midday. We had a brief meeting about our previous games and campaigns and what went well and what hadn't gone so well. We then had an hour's training session on the pitch where we were playing, to get a feel for the surface.
We went for a 4-3-3 formation against the Dutch, which was a sign that we weren't just going to go out and defend. We know we have the abillity to do well in this group and were going to take the game to Holland. The game started fast, Holland starting well with us just getting used to the pace, but no real breakthrough being made by either team. Holland had a few half chances and looked dangerous when they got behind us on the wings but were forced to snatch at their shots due to our defence being very tight, Emma Jones was very commanding and dealing with a lot of Holland's promising long balls. We also had a few half chances, getting a lot of joy down the right hand side where their left back could not handle the pace of Loren Dykes. She was getting past and getting some dangerous crosses in but the Dutch defence coped with the pressure and defended well.
Towards the end of the first half, our concentration went a bit and Holland had the better of the possession, but failed to create any good chances. We went in at half time 0-0, pleased with the way we were playing but knew that we had to keep the same tempo going for the full 90 minutes.
After the break, we didn't start as well as we'd like and soon enough Holland scored their first goal. It was well worked by the striker, picking up the ball on the right and driving towards the goal on her dangerous left foot, her pace making it hard for us to judge a tackle as we didn't want to concede a free kick in or around the area. A one-two was played just inside the box, the shot was low and going away from our keeper. We took the game to them for a bit afterwards, getting a lot of the ball and looking more dangerous - our midfield running with the ball more and causing trouble - but unfoutuntely not taking any of our chances.
The game became more open as we pushed forward, more gaps appeared and Holland were dangerous on the attack, having one good chance but the shot wa cleared off the line by some brilliant defending from Emma Jones. Soon after, though, their second goal came, from nothing really - a lack of communication letting a long ball bounce in the six yard box, a bit of a scramble and the ball ending up in the back of the net. We were really disappointed with their second goal.
We then put on even more pressure and had a goal disallowed, our striker Cheryl Foster making some space for herself and getting a good shot off, unfortunately it took a deflection from Gwennan (Harries) who was coming back from an offside position. We kept the pressure on and for our effort, we were given a penalty for myself being brought down in the box. Emma Jones stepped up and took the penalty, her initial shot was saved but the rebound was safely put in by Emma again.
We had a few more chances to level the game with some setpieces but Holland's defending was good. The more we pushed for the equaliser, the more space we left and Holland started to put us under pressure towards the end of the game.
We were happy with the performance, but disappointed with the result as we felt we deserved something from the game. However we will go into the next two qualifiers full of confidence and belief that we can get the full six points, leaving us in a great position when we welcome Holland to Wales for our home fixture in February.
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