Wales 4-0 Estonia: player ratings and tale of the match as unbeaten run continues

Wales beat Estonia 4-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium to continue their unbeaten start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Estonia were no match for a Wales side which dominated from the outset. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Angharad James opened the scoring in the first-half then Helen Ward and Natasha Harding doubled proceedings early in the second period before Sophie Ingle capped off the scoring with the last kick of the match.

The match was played in front of a record crowd for a Wales Women’s match with 5,455 spectators in attendance, beating their previous record against England in August 2018.

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It was a one-sided affair with Estonia failing to register a shot throughout the entirety of the match, remaining without a goal this campaign, whilst Wales boasted 80% possession, creating more than 30 shooting opportunities.

Tale of the match

Gemma Grainger made two changes with all-time record goalscorer Ward replacing the suspended Kayleigh Green, whilst Carrie Jones came in for Esther Morgan, pushing Ceri Holland into defence.

From the kick-off, Wales penned the visitors into their own box, carving a number of chances in the early goings.

Sophie Ingle had Wales’ two best opportunities in the opening quarter, firstly curling a shot at Karina Kork, before her second chance was a powerful rebounded effort from an uncleared corner.

They continued to knock on the door with Gemma Evans’s laced shot stinging Kork’s palms, whilst Ward headed over from Holland’s cross.

Their efforts would be rewarded in the 26th minute as Ingle - making her 110th cap - would play a side-splitting pass to James to slide a composed finish underneath the goalkeeper.

Relentless in attack, the scoreline should have been increased when Natasha Harding found Evans but she misguided her header from two-yards out.

As the half came to a close, the home side had one more chance to pull further in front though Ward couldn’t take it as she flicked a headed effort wide.

Natasha Harding put in a solid display for Wales and earned herself a goal. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Emerging from the second-half though Ward did get her goal, Roberts played a side-splitting pass to the Watford striker who expertly finished with a low composed shot for her 44th goal for her country.

Harding then got in on the scoring act, Holland’s cross caused problems and Estonian defender Liisa Merisalu could only kick the ball onto Harding for the third goal.

On a night where Wales celebrated a record attendance, they also celebrated the players who had come before them and a new name joined the fold. Hannah Cain, who plays for Leicester City, was given her first senior cap after switching her allegiance from England.

Cain almost made the perfect start to her Wales career but Kork, despite a few bodies in her way, saved her scooped effort.

In stoppage time, Ingle got in on the scoring action by escaping the challenge of the defender before letting fly her shot from close-range.

Player ratings

Wales: (4-1-4-1): O’Sullivan 6 (Clark, 86), Evans 6, Ingle 8 Roberts 7, Ward 7 (Cain, 60;6), James 7, Fishlock 6, Harding 8, Ladd 7, Holland 7 (Filbey 86), Jones 7 (Woodham, 76;6)

Estonia: (5-4-1): Kork 5, Orav 5 (M Saar 80), Merisalu 5, Mengel 5 (Eva-Maria Niit, 58;5), Aarna 5, Daut 5, Bannikova 5, Zlidnis 5, Liir 5, Kubassova 5, Treiberg 5 (H.Sarr 85)

Where does the victory over Estonia leave Wales in the standings?

Wales are non-movers after the victory but at least they still hold a gap of three points over Slovenia, whilst they narrow the gap on group favourites France.

Winning by more than one is also good for the goal difference, as they hold a positive difference of +10, whereas Slovenia only have a +6, which could come in handy when teams are competing for a play-off spot.

Player of the Match

Sophie Ingle: A goal and assist, the player of the match award can only go to Sophie Ingle. Her pass for the opening goal was sublime, cutting through the Estonian barrier.

A goal was the only thing missing from her game and fortunately she was rewarded for her efforts in stoppage time when she was found in a pocket of space and she duly delivered.

What’s next?

There are two more qualifiers to see out the year for Wales with a double-header against two of their rivals next month. Wales host Greece at Parc y Scarlets on Friday November 26 before jetting off to Guingamp to face group favourites France on Tuesday November 30.

For Estonia, they play just one match next month, where they fly to Slovenia on November 26.

Wales remaining 2023 World Cup qualifying fixtures:

  • November 26 2021: Wales v Greece (kick-off: TBD)
  • November 30 2021: France v Wales (kick-off: TBD)
  • April 8 2022: Wales v France (kick-off: TBD)
  • April 12 2022: Kazakhstan v Wales (kick-off: TBD)
  • September 2 2022: Greece v Wales (kick-off TBD)
  • September 6 2022: Wales v Slovenia (kick-off: TBD)