by Callum Ellis & Editor
SOPHIE Ingle is one of those stalwart, grounded players, wanted by every manager and needed by every team.
The Wales Women captain has played a key role in the heart of a defence which has ensured Wales are yet to concede a single goal in their World Cup qualifying campaign.
Jayne Ludlow’s side kept their France 2019 dream alive with a 1-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina in Swansea last night.
And Ingle is under no illusions about the importance of the result: “A clean sheet is great for us and we’ve been building on that each game. We pride ourselves in trying to limit their chances and I think we did that.”
Record goalscorer Helen Ward was denied from the penalty spot minutes before the dead-lock was broken, though Ingle feels there is enough confidence running throughout the team to cope with things not always going to plan.
“We’re strong enough mentally that we can go on and score goals even when we missed chances like that,” she said.
“We had one or two before that with Jess [Fishlock] just at the end of the first half. I think most of us are confident in ourselves that as a team, we can get goals.”
Speaking about the challenge of Russia, Wales’ opponents at Newport Stadium on Tuesday evening, Ingle believes her side will face another difficult test.
“It’s going to be a tough game. They have a different threat compared to Bosnia but we have to keep developing and be hard to break down. I think we’ve developed that [defending] each game and we’re getting better and better at it.
“It’s going to probably be out of us and them for a play-off position so it’s going to be an exciting game.”
The result sees Wales overtake England in Group A. Phil Neville’s side travel to Moscow to face Russia tonight before the Russians make the journey to Wales next week.
Ingle admitted the pressure has increased after Wales secured their fourth victory of the campaign, but says all the focus now will be on Tuesday’s game in Newport.
“We’re winning games and getting good results against higher opposition than us. That’s always tough but the pressure comes from us and not anywhere else.
“We want to win the games and keep working and developing. It’s down to us how we do against Russia and that’s the main focus for us.”
Kayleigh Green netted the only goal of the game against Bosnia and Herzegovina in front of a crowd of 2,645 at the Liberty Stadium and Ingle knows how crucial support is to her side’s continued success.
“It’s massive for us. We can hear everyone chanting – and even the anthem – they are signing it with us now. It’s nice to get the nation behind us.
“It’s really nice to see them and we can meet them after the game. We’re kind of their role models and I hope those girls, and even boys, enjoy games like this and aspire to be like us.”