Sophie Ingle calls on Wales to believe they can achieve World Cup dream

Sport

Sophie Ingle says Wales’s players “have to believe that we can get a result” against Switzerland in their World Cup playoff on Tuesday night.

Wales travel to Switzerland bidding to book their finals place in Australia and New Zealand next year having beaten Bosnia‑Herzegovina 1-0 in Cardiff last Thursday. Victory will not automatically secure a World Cup spot, however, with Scotland hosting the Republic of Ireland and Portugal meeting Iceland and only two of the winning teams qualifying directly on the basis of their qualification records. The country that misses out will go into an inter‑confederation playoff in February.

“It is complicated, but it’s competitive,” the Wales manager, Gemma Grainger, said. “It keeps you on your toes. These games are knockout games. The only other way you play knockout games is in tournaments. So what a great experience for us to have to think about the possibility of extra-time, to have to think about the possibility of penalties. Knowing that we go through that as a team is such a thing for us to do.”

The Chelsea midfielder Ingle said: “It’s like another cup final. It’s probably our 12th cup final of this campaign. We’ve had a lot of games and at this level they’re all as important as the next. We’ve been on a journey, but we want to go one better and get the win.”

The Scotland manager, Pedro Martínez Losa, admitted his side must “have a belief in what we are doing” before their game with the Republic of Ireland at Hampden Park, where it is expected the women’s team will break its attendance record.

“We are in the best place that we could be,” Martínez Losa said. “It’s one opportunity potentially every four years. We just prepare for a final. We prepared for one final and now we are preparing for another.

It’s an incredible opportunity to be involved and play in a World Cup and inspire a generation of players and make the game better.”

Scotland finished runners-up in Group B, behind Spain, and Wales finished runners-up in Group I, behind France, to earn their places in the playoffs. Martínez Losa’s side secured a 1-0 win in extra-time against the Euro 2022 quarter-finalists Austria to set up the second-round match with the Republic of Ireland, while Wales also needed extra-time to beat Bosnia and Herzegovina and secure the tie with Switzerland.