Phil Neville expecting fight against Wales ahead of HUGE Women's World Cup qualifier
The England boss admits he would have done exactly the same thing as Wales’ most experienced player, Jess Fishlock, in the build-up when she urged the 5,000 Welsh fans who will be crammed into Rodney Parade to do everything they can to upset the English players.
“I’d be saying exactly the same if I was Wales, I really would. Boo, hiss, do whatever you can to put England off their game,” said Neville.
“The atmosphere will be really good. They have home advantage, they are top of the group and it is basically a knock-out situation – the winner takes it all.
“Whoever wins is going to a World Cup and whoever doesn’t will be suffering. We are on their patch and they have got to do whatever it takes to win.”
“You’ve got to admire that kind of planning, the choice of venue and their siege mentality, and I’d do exactly the same. The men did it when they went to the Euros with Chris Coleman and there is a real momentum with Welsh football.
“We are treating this game as if we were playing the likes of USA, Germany or France. I don’t think women’s football in Britain has had an occasion like this in the last four or five years.”
England received only 270 tickets for the game because of the restricted capacity at the venue and the pitch has been narrowed by 12 feet to its minimum standard to try to contain a side ranked 25 places higher than Wales at No4.
“It’s our home, it’s our choice and we’ve chosen this venue because it works for us. We’ve played well here and it’s close to our training environment,” said Wales boss Jayne Ludlow.
“Right now a 30,000 stadium would not be filled and, if it was, it would have been full of English people and that’s not what we want.
“It’s been a fantastic campaign and I’m proud of what the group has done. We’re very pleased at where we are right now but there’s a lot more to come from us.”
The maths on the night is simple for both teams. Wales, who currently top Group 1 by a point from England, have to win their final game to guarantee qualification.
Neville’s team still have to play in Kazakhstan on Tuesday and could afford a draw in Newport and go on to win the pool with victory next week. If they lose tonight (Friday), they will have to hope they can qualify for France via the play-offs.
“Wales deserve the utmost respect from us and we know we are going to have to be at our very best to win this game or get a result. We are under no illusions about that,” added Neville.
Wales (probable): O’Sullivan; Roberts, Ingle (capt), Dykes, Ladd, Harding; James, Rowe, Fishlock; Green, Ward.
England (probable): Telford; Bronze, Houghton (capt), McManus, Stokes; Nobbs, Walsh; Parris, Kirby, Duggan; Taylor.
Kick-off: 7.45pm. TV: BBC2.