Wales manager Jayne Ludlow looking for unlikely result to keep Euro hopes alive

Wales manager Jayne Ludlow says she will be “amazed” if the Faroe Islands can shock Northern Ireland and keep her side’s European Championship dream alive.

Qualification is out of Welsh hands heading into the final round of fixtures on Tuesday.

Northern Ireland need only to match or better Wales’ result against Belarus in Newport to finish runners-up to Group C winners Norway.

Their final game is at home to the bottom-placed Faroe Islands, who have conceded 37 goals in their six games and not kept a clean sheet since 2015.

“We could get a play-off, but is it likely?” Ludlow said. “I’d love to hold out a slight bit of hope that it’s going to happen. But I would be amazed.

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“To be fair to the Faroes, they were harder to beat the last time we played them.

“They were more organised, but to ask them to go up against a team that is flying high with so much positivity, I would be amazed if that happened.”

Wales’ most-capped player Jess Fishlock, 33, and Natasha Harding, 31, have pledged to continue their international careers despite the likelihood of missing out on the European Championships in 2022.

Ludlow’s focus has already switched to qualifying for the 2023 World Cup, starting against Belarus at Rodney Parade.

“When we step on the pitch it’s based on us progressing and developing over the next few months,” Ludlow said.

“It’s game one in that sense and the bigger focus is stepping on the pitch and getting a result.

“We didn’t get that point against Norway we needed and since then it’s been very much about attacking the future for us.

“There are areas we need to grow very quickly in and the players understand the responsibility they have.

“The good thing about our group right now is that we have got youngsters pushing through and nearer than ever to being starting players for the national team.

“But we also have a crop of older players who are still competitive.”

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