Wales 1-2 Iceland: Hosts relegated after defeat in Cardiff

Having succumbed to defeat in the first four of their matches thus far in the inaugural UEFA Women’s Nations League, Gemma Grainger was hoping to see her side’s misfortunes come to an end against Iceland at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday.

WAL: Clark; Woodham, Evans, Ladd, Roberts; Ingle, James; Rowe, Fishlock, Holland; Green

ISL: Ívarsdóttir; Heidarsdóttir, Sigurdardóttir, Viggósdóttir, Arnardóttir; Antonsdóttir; Jessen, Magnúsdóttir, Vilhjálmsdóttir, Halldórsdóttir; Eiriksdóttir

Despite the absence of Hannah Cain up front, the hosts started Friday’s match with the intensity and tenacity required to pick up their first points of the campaign. Jess Fishlock flung her strike wide of the woodwork though, before a penalty appeal was denied by the referee.

But just before the half-hour mark, Iceland arrived on the scene to deal a horrendous sucker punch, as Holder Antónsdóttir slammed home from close-range to capitalise on an unfortunate slip from Hayley Ladd as she sought to clear Sædis Heidarsdóttir’s cross.

The Welsh players did not let their heads dip, but a buoyant Iceland side came close to extending their lead in the 57th minute when Hlin Eiriksdóttir smashed home the rebound after Bristol City’s Olivia Clark had denied Selma Magnúsdóttir – though the goal was ruled out for handball.

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Iceland’s motivation would simply prove too strong for the Welsh defence in the end though, as substitute Diljá Zomers was able to cut in from the left flank and curl an effort into the bottom corner with ten minutes of regulation time left to play at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Fresh from the Welsh bench, Elise Hughes was able to net a consolation goal in stoppage time – but with their relegation to League B now confirmed, it means that the atmosphere will likely be dampened when Gemma Grainger’s side host Germany in their final match of the inaugural campaign on Tuesday.

Their fate was sealed by a classy Iceland second goal on 79 minutes, as Zomers cut in from the left and fired home a precise effort into the bottom corner of the net.

There was time for Hughes to head home a late consolation effort for Wales, but it did not alter their fate.