Wales Make Strides Forward In Pinatar Cup Ahead Of An Exciting 2023

As the Pinatar Cup reached its final conclusion last week, Wales must now reflect on their progress from what was a difficult tournament.

SAN PEDRO DEL PINATAR, SPAIN – 18 FEBRUARY 2023: Wales Team Photo during the Pinatar Cup 2023 match between Iceland v Cymru at the Pinatar Arena, Spain. (Pic by Ashley Crowden/FAW)

The team left the Cup with plenty of positives, but any hopes of victory were dashed when Iceland beat the Philippines 5-0 in the final game to lift the Cup.

The Cup provided an opportunity for Wales to test themselves against sides who are rated above them in the World rankings, whilst also giving some younger players experience on a world stage as the team looks to build depth beyond some of the more experienced stars.

After falling to a 2-1 defeat in their World Cup play-off against Switzerland last year, Wales’ head coach Gemma Grainger made it clear that Wales’ goals moving forward were focused on the importance of planning for the future after signing a new four-year deal in January.

Over the last World Cup qualifying campaign, Wales began to challenge against teams ranked higher than them but found themselves unbale to sneak across the line in what proved to be several tight games.

There’s still work to be done however if Wales are able to compete regularly at major international tournaments.

2023’s Pinatar Cup provided Grainger and her side with a fresh start, and the Wales manager opted for a mix between experience and youth in the tournament’s first game against the Philippines.

Safia Middleton-Patel made her international debut in Wales’ first game of the tournament, with Carrie Jones and Hannah Cain also playing a part in the 1-0 win against the side, who are ranked 65th in the world.

Grainger also looked to utilise the wealth of experience on her side, as Wales next held Iceland to a 0-0 draw to keep their chances of Pinatar glory alive.

Grainger made four changes for Wales’ crunch game against Scotland, with Josie Green, Charlie Estcourt, Hannah Cain and Liv Clark all coming onto the side.

The game got off to a tough start for Wales, who conceded early on. But Grainger’s side soon brought themselves back into the game with a devastating attack that was finished by Ceri Holland, but there was to be no further breakthrough as the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Wales will next face Northern Ireland on April 6th at the Cardiff City Stadium in a friendly match.