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Ludlow keeps Wales aiming high

Wales will finish at the bottom of Group 4 but their captain, Arsenal LFC's Jayne Ludlow, is hoping they can grow after their return to the competition's top tier.

Jayne Ludlow (right) in action against Germany
Jayne Ludlow (right) in action against Germany ©Getty Images

New status
The Principality did not even enter the last competition in 2005 and had previously been in the second non-qualifying tier since the split for the 1997 edition. But three wins in the new preliminary round restored their status, and although they began Group 4 with a 6-0 defeat by Germany, they have not lost by more than two goals and their last three games have ended 1-0, twice against Belgium and once versus the Netherlands.

Step up
Captain Jayne Ludlow is used to winning with Arsenal LFC, but she is realistic about her national team's ambitions. We are up in the A tier for the first time, I'm delighted to say we haven't been hammered by anybody," she said. "We lost six to Germany but most teams do that anyway. The big aim for us is to sustain ourselves in the A group, and that means getting a good defensive record. We're working on it, but it is disappointing that we are letting in silly goals through a lack of concentration. Teams aren't breaking us down through good football."

'Young team'
With trips to Switzerland tonight and Germany on 29 May to end their campaign, Wales will be hard-pressed to get off the mark, but there is potential in the ranks considering that even at 29 Ludlow is senior to the rest of the squad. "We have a young team; I am one of the elder stateswomen!" Ludlow said. "I'm hoping it will be good for the future as long as the girls keep their heads up and keep battling. It's just great to be in the A tier to be honest, for myself, to play against the best players around."