CYPRUS WOMEN’S CUP 2017
1st March – Hungary v Wales, KO 15:30
3rd March – Wales v Czech Republic, KO 12:30
6th March – Republic of Ireland v Wales, KO 12:30
8th March – Final Day
Wales ended their EURO 2017 qualifying campaign on a high in Newport last September with a 3-0 victory over Israel and a very creditable 0-0 draw against Austria, who won the Cyprus Cup in 2016. Wales finished last years tournament in sixth place following a 2-1 defeat to Hungary on the final day, but Ludlow (pictured) has seen huge signs of progress over the course of 2016, and was keen to highlight the benefits of the tournament when she sat down with FAW.cymru recently.
“The girls love every minute of being part of our national team and representing Wales,” Ludlow explained. “They are really looking forward to taking on the opponents that we have been drawn against, as the Cyprus Cup gives us a great opportunity to challenge ourselves against varying levels of international teams. There are teams in and around us in terms of rankings, and the potential to play teams ranked 10 or 15 places above us, so it’s a great tournament that gives us the chance to test ourselves. It also offers the chance to play against teams from outside Europe as well, which is always a great learning opportunity for the players.”
Wales have been drawn in Group C and start their campaign against Hungary on 1st March, before taking on the Czech Republic two days later. The group comes to a close against the Republic of Ireland on 6th March, with the final days action taking place on 8th March to determine the final standings of the popular 12 team competition. Wales were defeat against the Czech Republic in their final group match last year, but it was a memorable tournament for all the players involved, including Natasha Harding, who also spoke to FAW.cymru about the competition.
“It is intense and it is hard work,” said Harding. “But if we want to be at the level we were against Austria in our last match then you have to work, be fit and be at the top of your game. Last year was a really good tournament for us, not just playing wise but as a squad too, and since then we haven’t really looked back. It’s all been about development and our work has been done with a purpose.”
Images – faw.cymru