Wales Boss Gemma Grainger Believes USA Trip Proves Her Team Are Ready For Euros Campaign

It may only have been for one match, but Wales manager Gemma Grainger is convinced her team have shown they are more than capable of competing at the finals of a major tournament.

The USA are off to the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in a fortnight, where they will defend their trophy as champions and tournament favourites.

It’s in that context that Grainger felt satisfied with Wales’ 2-0 defeat to the Americans in a friendly in San Jose on Sunday night.

They held out the Americans until late on, when rising star Trinity Rodman – the 21-year-old daughter of former NBA basketball legend Dennis Rodman – scored twice.

But as preparation for next season’s Euro 2025 qualification campaign, Grainger felt the trip to California was a success.

“For us as a team, this couldn’t have been a better game for us,” she said.

“The depth is something we’ve been striving for. We’re focused on qualifying for a major tournament and this felt like playing at a major tournament.”

Trinity Rodman scored in the 76th minute and again in the 88th, as the Americans finally capitalised on their many offensive chances in their final friendly warm-up for the Women’s World Cup.

It was a gritty display from Wales in San Jose, who looked defensively sound for most of the contest, although they created little to trouble the world champions.

Rodman broke the deadlock when she one-touched a pass from Sophia Smith, then later emphatically delivered again to provide a glimpse of Americans’ youth movement headed Down Under this month.

But Grainger – who will lead Wales into their first Nations League campaign in the autumn – said: “I think for us as a team, particularly with different factors, the different players we had on the pitch today, the time of the season that it is for us, these players are in the off-season, so to be able to raise their game to that level and do it over the game is a real positive.

“We’ve got so much to take forward and that was the most important thing about this fixture.

“A lot of positives, but I’m disappointed also with the defeat. In terms of our mindset and mentality, the preparation we put into the game, we wanted this game to go in a certain way for us and to help us progress in the Nations League and ‘m pleased with that.”

Without captain Sophie Ingle and the inspirational Jess Fishlock, Wales looked comfortable until their final 15 minutes when fatigue started to set in.

They were made to pay for two lapses as Rodman showed her prowess.

Back in Wales, Swansea City began their pre-season schedule with a behind-closed-doors 2-0 victory at home to Haverfordwest County.

The JD Cymru Premier League visitors provided stubborn resistance to the Swans, but the victory was duly achieved with goals from last season’s leading scorer, Joel Piroe, and Josh Thomas.

Cardiff City also played over the weekend – another game with no fans – as they drew 1-1 on Friday at home to Cambridge United.

Callum Robinson put the hosts in front in the second half, only for Cambridge to equalise in stoppage time through Gassan Ahadme.