Wales looking to regain second spot in 3,000 mile trip to Kazakhstan

Wales beat Kazakhstan 6-0 in Llanelli in September Credit: PA

Wales manager Gemma Grainger has spoken of the logistical challenges associated with travelling to Kazakhstan for Tuesday's Women’s World Cup qualifier.

The 3,000-mile trip to the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan has provided sizeable challenges for Wales, who hope to reclaim second spot behind group leaders France on Tuesday.

Kazakhstan is five hours ahead of Wales but Cymru have decided to stay on UK time, meaning a late night for the squad ahead of the crunch tie.

“We think staying on UK time is best for our performance,” Grainger said after a nine-hour flight from Wales that included a refuel stop in Turkey.

“It was the best thing to do because we would have had to travel six days before to actually acclimatise to the time difference, which obviously wasn’t a choice.

“We’ve prepared our minds for it and all our watches are on UK time.”

Gemma Grainger coached throughout England's development teams before joining Wales Credit: PA

Grainger’s squad are based in a city centre hotel in Nur-Sultan, but she insists that is not a problem as far as early morning external noise is concerned.

She continued: “The hotel doesn’t have too many windows. The curtains are closed and we can’t see out.

“It’s a quiet hotel and there’s not many members of the public here.”

The Wales squad trained at the Astana Arena venue on Monday evening, exactly 24 hours before Tuesday’s kick-off time, which is 7pm locally (2pm UK time).

Wales are seeking to bounce back from Friday’s 2-1 home defeat to France, which cost them second spot as Slovenia won 2-0 in Kazakhstan.

Wales' remaining fixtures in World Cup Qualifying Group I

Kazakhstan (A) Tuesday, April 12 | 2pm

Greece (A) Friday, September 2 | TBC

Slovenia (H) Tuesday, September 6 | TBC

However, Slovenia, who have one point more than Wales with three games remaining in the race for a play-off spot, are away to France on Tuesday.

France have a 100% record after seven games and will qualify for next year’s finals in Australia and New Zealand by beating Slovenia.

Natasha Harding made her Wales debut in 2008 Credit: PA

Reading’s Natasha Harding is expected to win her 100th cap, becoming the fifth Welsh women to do so after Jess Fishlock, Loren Dykes, Sophie Ingle and Helen Ward.

Harding said: “It will be quite a surreal moment. For me it’s always been about the game, I’ve never sat down and counted the number of caps.

“But I got some messages from my dad yesterday, which was nice, and I’m sure there’ll be a few happy tears if I get there.”