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Interviews

Harding hoping to upset the odds with Wales

Royals forward facing some of her colleagues as Wales take on England at St Mary's tonight!

6 April 2018

When Royals collide...Natasha Harding will be coming up against some of her Reading FC Women teammates tonight when Wales take on England in a World Cup qualifier at St Mary's Stadium.

And Harding admits that Wales will be on a mission this evening, desperate to get one over on rivals England in the battle for World Cup qualification.

Harding, who moved to Reading in January from Liverpool, is determined to cement Wales’ position at the top of their World Cup qualifying group – they go into the game a point ahead of England having played a game more.

The Royals striker is aware of the challenge that awaits her Wales teammates, with England rejuvenated under new boss Phil Neville and having moved up to a new high of second in the FIFA world rankings behind the USA.

England are certainly the team to beat in the group – Bosnia, Russia and Kazakhstan make up the pool – but Harding is convinced Wales can upset the odds in Southampton tonight.

“It’s massive and I think that whenever you mention England versus Wales in any sport, it’s always a big occasion and there’s always a bit of a fanfare,” she said.

"I think the ones that are a bit less experienced in the game will probably enjoy it and the things around it, the media attention that everyone will have.

"Hopefully, it will be a good spectacle for everyone involved. There’s always a bit of banter between everyone. The Welsh girls always give it back to the England girls to be fair, as well.

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"I think we’ve all taken a picture of the group at the minute because we’re top! Whether we stay there or not, I don’t know.

"I’ve had bad memories in the past of playing England but this time around, we’re trying to see it as any other game.

“We’ve worked really hard and if we can win, no matter how we perform, it just shows the character that we’ve built in the squad.”

Last year the England Lionesses qualified for the semi-finals of the European Championships in Holland and Harding is determined to follow in their footsteps. But to achieve their dream of World Cup qualification, Harding knows a positive result against England is a must in Southampton.

“We want to get to a major tournament, and that’s what England have done – they’re a very, very good team,” she added.

“They have very good individual players and they’re one of the top five teams in the world.

“Some of the England girls are great role models and they’ve competed in World Cups and European Championships every time they come around, so they’re very good as a nation.

“But they’ve had new staff and hopefully, we can put the cat among the pigeons and make it a really hard game for them."

England face Wales in a FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier at St. Mary’s Stadium tonight (Friday 6th April. kick-off 7pm). You can buy tickets (£10 Adult/£1 Under-18) at www.thefa.com/tickets or by calling 02381 780 780.


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