Cymru have reached the UEFA #U17EURO Elite Round for the first time in four years after a convincing 4-1 win against Kosovo in the final qualifying round match.
Richard Williams’ side were drawn against the hosts Netherlands, Slovenia and Kosovo and started the tournament brightly with a 1-0 against Slovenia. In a fierce end to end game Cymru broke the deadlock in the 92nd minute, with centre back Jay Williams scoring the winner in a 92nd minute counterattack.
Cymru faced the Netherlands in the second game and had one foot in the Elite Round at half time, leading 1-0 thanks to a Ryan Viggars’ penalty. However, the group’s top seeds replied in the second half with two goals forcing Cymru’s qualification attempts into the final round of matches.
With three points guaranteeing qualification, Cymru started brightly against Kosovo with captain Matt Baker getting on the scoresheet early on. Just before half time, two goals in quick succession for Marcus Dackers and Liam Higgins put Cymru firmly in control. Despite conceding in the second half, Joshua Edwards put the icing on the cake with a fourth goal to secure a 4-1 win and the three points needed to qualify.
I’m over the moon for the players. They’re focus on the pitch and conduct off the pitch has been fantastic. The staff have been brilliant as well, it’s been fantastic working with everyone here. The players were flawless against Slovenia and dominated against Kosovo where it was all about the result. It now gives us the chance to play three more matches against high quality opposition, it’s important we make the most of it.
Williams has worked with the 2003 age group for four years through the FAW Trust age groups and then succeeding U17s manager Rob Edwards as he moved on to take charge of the U19s back in August. Cymru will find out who they will face in the Elite Round when the draw takes place on Tuesday 3 December.