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First half goals condemn Wales to defeat

Denmark 2 (Vangsgaard 28, Bredgaard 39)

Wales 1 (Fishlock 72)

Two first half goals condemned Wales to a fourth straight defeat in their UEFA Women’s Nations League group, despite a spirited second half performance in Viborg.

Gemma Grainger made two changes from the chastening 5-1 defeat in Germany with Ffion Morgan and Carrie Jones coming in to replace injured duo Hannah Cain and Ceri Holland, and an alteration in tactics saw Wales start the match with a back five.

The change in formation gave Wales a more solid look and goalkeeper Olivia Clark, who had been like a duck in a shooting gallery four days earlier, was given much more protection by the players in front of her. Clark did however need to make a save from an angled shot by Amalie Vangsgaard, who had missed an earlier opportunity as did Sanne Troelsgaard.

However, all the promising work Wales had put in was undone just before the half hour mark. Sofie Bredgaard floated a left foot cross into the area and Vangsgaard looped a header over Clark for the opening goal.

Denmark were without star striker Pernille Harder, who had scored a hat-trick against Wales a few weeks earlier, but as half time approached they went two goals ahead. After initially doing well to cut out a pass in the area, Angharad James was dispossessed by Mille Gejl who then teed up Bredgaard to plant a shot inside the far top corner from 15 yards.

Jessica Fishlock fired over from the edge of the area as Wales produced their first meaningful attempt on goal but in first half injury time, it took a smart stop from Clark to prevent Vangsgaard from putting the Danes further ahead and keep her side in the game.

Vangsgaard went close again on the hour, this time her header bouncing on the top of the bar following a strong run and cross by the impressive Sofie Svava. Wales were to have an escape shortly afterwards as Rhiannon Roberts was able to get in a block from a Josefine Hasbo shot after she had worked her way into the area, the ball having struck the full back’s arm before bouncing just past the post.

Clark then produced a superb diving save to keep out a strike from Vangsgaard after another teasing run and cross by Svava but Wales rode out the storm and minutes later, came up with a reply of their own. Under pressure from a challenge by Kayleigh Green, the Danish defence gave the ball away and a reverse pass by Sophie Ingle picked out Fishlock, who drilled a low shot past Lene Christensen to give her side hope.

Wales brought on Elise Hughes and Ella Powell as extra strikers and reverted to a flat back four but despite some initial nerves, Denmark were able to hold firm and Wales were never able to fashion a clear cut chance for a leveller.

Wales must now look to their next group match against Iceland on 1 December as their best opportunity to climb off the bottom of the group, before completing their matches against Germany at Swansea four days later.

Denmark: Lene Christensen, Ferderikke Thogersen, Katrine Veje, Isabella Obaze, Stine Ballisager, Kathrine Kuhl, Sanne Troelsgaard, Mille Gejl (sub Josefine Hasbo 54mins), Sofie Bredgaard (sub Karen Holmgaard 86mins), Amalie Vangsgaard, Sofie Svava (sub Rikke Madsen 71mins). Subs not used: Kathrine Larsen, Maja Bay Ostergaard, Sara Thrige, Nadia Nadim, Karoline Olesen, Nicoline Sorensen, Luna Gevitz, Emma Faerge, Signe Bruun.  

Wales: Olivia Clark, Rhiannon Roberts, Lily Woodham (sub Ella Powell 75mins), Sophie Ingle, Gemma Evans, Hayley Ladd, Josie Green (sub Charlie Estcourt 88mins), Angharad James, Carrie Jones (sub Kayleigh Green 66mins), Jessica Fishlock, Ffion Morgan (sub Elise Hughes 75mins). Subs not used: Laura O’Sullivan, Safia Middleton-Patel, Chloe Williams, Josie Longhurst, Mary McAteer, Esther Morgan, Megan Wynne, Anna Filbey.  

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