Wales had previously only experienced two campaigns in the top level of female international football – losing all their games in qualifying for both the 1995 and 2009 UEFA European Women's Championship. However, a 2-0 defeat of the Czech Republic in their second 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifier put an end to that unwanted record.
There had already been a near miss in their first Group 8 game on Sunday when they were beaten 1-0 by a Belgium goal deep in injury time. But against the Czech Republic in Llanelli on Wednesday, goals from Jessica Fishlock and substitute Emma Plewa ensured Wales beat a side seeded second of the five teams in the group, indeed a nation who drew in England in 2009 qualifying.
Plewa, who pounced on a back-pass to open her international account with six minutes left, told uefa.com: "It was a great result. We thought we were the better team on Sunday against Belgium and deserved a result so we were determined to perform well again and get a result this time. We were up for the Belgium game but because of that result we were really up for this one as we needed the points. They'll be disappointed about not getting any points here so we'll have a tough game against them [in Prague on 25 October]."
With the presence in their midfield of Arsenal LFC stalwart Jayne Ludlow, and after Fishlock's success at AZ Alkmaar, suddenly Wales look a threat to anyone in their group, potentially even top seeds Sweden. "This result has given us a platform and we hope we can go on from here and get some more points in the next games," 19-year-old striker Plewa said. "We know Sweden are a really good side but we don't know too much about the rest of the teams. Everyone needs experience playing in games like this and I think it has brought us on quite a lot."
Meanwhile, there is a further boost for women's football in her nation this week with the launch of the new Welsh Premier Women's Football League, which carries the reward of a 2010/11 UEFA Women's Champions League qualifying spot, a berth previously filled by the Welsh Cup winners. Eight teams will compete, with the first match held on Thursday between Aberystwyth Town LFC and Llanidloes Town LFC.
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