Gemma Grainger backs Wales to ‘compete against any team’ in Nations League
Gemma Grainger is adamant Wales can “compete against any team” despite finishing pointless in their opening two games in the Women’s Nations League campaign.
Wales resume their Group A3 programme against Germany at a sold-out PreZero Arena in Sinsheim on Friday after defeats by Iceland and Denmark in September.
“Our players are being exposed to the best players and best teams in Europe,” Wales boss Grainger said ahead of the first part of a double-header, which also includes the return game with Denmark in Viborg on Tuesday.
“That exposure is the value for us right now. It does strengthen my belief when I break these games down that we know what the level is.
“We’ve reviewed the Iceland and Denmark games, and I believe we can compete against any team if we deliver the game plan and every player is doing their job.
“I’ve seen it in the France game at home and the US game out of season.”
Wales lost both those matches 2-1 to France in a 2023 Women’s World Cup qualifier and 2-0 to then world champions the United States in a California friendly in July – but Grainger believes the close nature of those contests shows her squad are heading in the right direction.
She said: “Of course we want to win games, but we’ve got to stay really focused on the journey.
“The Iceland game in terms of performance was one of our best, if not our best, since I’ve been in place.
“We dominated possession and chances but what we didn’t do was get a goal and one set-play cost us.
“That showed us it is about fine margins, but we’ve got to keep exposing these players to experiences that help them qualify for a European Championship.”
Germany, ranked sixth in the world and 23 places above Wales, are seeking to bounce back from a disastrous summer that saw them fail to get out of their World Cup group.
The two-time world champions also lost their Nations League opener in Denmark before bouncing back with a 4-0 home win over Iceland.
Grainger said: “We’re not thinking too much about their World Cup exit or where they are as a team currently.
“They have such an experienced squad of players and their winning record speaks for itself, they are one of the best women’s sides in world football.”
Leicester forward Hannah Cain returns for Wales after missing the start of the competition through injury, just nine months after recovering from a serious knee problem that kept her out of action for over a year.
But Rangers midfielder Rachel Rowe will not play any part against Germany and Denmark after picking up what Grainger described as a “small injury”.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.