Wales coach Grainger keeping focus on performance as they face France again
Gemma Grainger says Wales will look to build on their last performance against France when they take them on again in Friday’s World Cup qualifier at Parc y Scarlets.
The previous meeting in Guingamp in November saw Grainger’s side beaten 2-0, with the goals coming late in each half either side of Kayleigh Green’s 70th-minute sending off.
Jess Fishlock hit the post just before Selma Bacha notched the second goal for France, who are third in the FIFA rankings.
Boss Grainger told a press conference: “We’re focused on building on that performance, that’s what we want to do.
“The performance in November, maybe we were unlucky – we were a post’s width away from equalising with 10 players.
“We know Friday night’s game will be very different. France are the third best team in the world, and we fully respect them. But we’re very focused on what we want to do.”
Grainger added: “The number one focus really is getting that performance, and then hopefully the outcome would take care of itself.
“In November, we came off and we knew, we look back and go ‘did we leave it all on the pitch? Yes we did’. And we’ll do that again tomorrow.
“We’ll step on the pitch, deliver our plan and compete from the very first whistle to the very last, and when we come off, the goal will be that we have no regrets about what we did on that night, and that will be the next step for us as a team.”
‘Get behind the team’
Over 4,000 tickets have been sold for the match, and Grainger said: “One of the most positive things for us is the growth of the attendances.
“Back in September when we played the first game we had 1,700 fans at Parc y Scarlets. So to now be talking about over 4,000, possibly close to 5,000, it’s really growing and for us it’s a huge positive. It’s something we wanted to do, it’s the reason why we do what we do, to inspire the next generation, and I think we’ll see that on Friday.
“We’re so excited to see them, because it was noisy in September, it was noisy in November, so with even more fans there now, we’re just really excited to see how they get behind the team.
“When we went to France there was over 20,000 French fans there and I know what that felt like walking out in that stadium. So I want them to feel something similar, and I think they will.”
Wales – who have had Grainger in charge for just over a year and are trying to secure a first ever appearance at a major tournament – are currently five points behind leaders France occupying the play-off spot in World Cup qualifying Group I, with a two-point gap to third-placed Slovenia.
After Friday’s contest, they play Kazakhstan away on Tuesday.
The matches could see both Helen Ward and Natasha Harding reach 100 caps, and Grainger said: “We are all aware of it and very proud of it.
“When they do make that 100th cap, it’s a real special moment for them and their families, and it’s something they can be incredibly proud of. We’re excited to celebrate that with them when it happens.”
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