Wales Women beat Kosovo 0-6 to take control of Euro 2025 qualifying campaign

Wales' Rachel Rowe (right) celebrates with Jess Fishlock during the Euro 2025 qualifier against Croatia
Wales goal-scorer Rachel Rowe (right) pictured celebrating with Jess Fishlock during the Euro 2025 qualifier against Croatia. Credit: PA Images

Wales Women thrashed Kosovo 0-6 in Podujevo to take control of their Euro 2025 qualifying group.

In temperatures approaching 30°C, Wales settled fastest.

Their passing in the early stages was more incisive and Jess Fishlock, captaining the side on her 150th appearance, had the first shot of the game blocked.

But more chances soon followed, with Wales showing a bit more quality in possession.

Before the 10th minute, Ceri Holland got into the channel and her driven cross was parried away by Alma Demiri in the Kosovo goal, with the loose ball evading both Fishlock and Kayleigh Barton.

Lily Woodham then ventured into a dangerous position but her attempted cross to Fishlock was scooped over the bar for a goal-kick.

Wales continued to find space in the wide areas but the final ball was lacking as head coach Rhian Wilkinson - managing just her second Wales fixture - shouted orders regarding "standards" from the touchline.

Wales were dominating territory and possession but were unable to break down a stubborn Kosovo side, who had settled into a very defensive system.

As the game approached the half-hour mark, Demiri was quick to prevent what would have been a tap-in for Barton and Welsh frustrations grew.

Then came the moment of quality and it came from Rachel Rowe. Fishlock cut inside her defender with a lovely first touch before finding Rowe unmarked on the edge of the box. The midfielder’s driven low shot beat Demiri before she had time to react, much to the delight of the dozen or so Welsh fans who had made the trip.

Wilkinson’s side continued to look comfortable as the game meandered towards half time and then Barton doubled the lead.

Fishlock found her strike partner with a beautifully-weighted through ball and Barton slotted it beyond Demiri. Wales were leading 0-2 at the break.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, Rowe doubled her tally and put Wales out of sight. There appeared to be little danger when she picked up the ball on the edge of the box but outside of Demiri’s left-hand post.

But her shot to nothing took a deflection off Blerta Smaili and looped over Demiri into the far corner.

Moments later it was 0-4. Rowe, chasing down a hat-trick, drove into a dangerous area but showed selflessness to square the ball to substitute Ffion Morgan, who had a tap-in at the far post.

The game was over as a contest but Wales continued to go in search of goals but Angharad James’ strike from the edge of the box was fired over the bar.

Sophie Ingle, who has now relinquished the captaincy, missed a golden opportunity to make it five when her volley from six yards out was skied high over Demiri’s goal.

Elise Hughes was the next to miss a good opportunity when she failed a header on target from close range, but she would soon make amends.

Wales broke fast after a Kosovo free-kick and Ceri Holland, who had impressed all afternoon, drove into the hosts’ box before looking to fire a cross into the middle.

Demiri got a hand to it but she palmed it straight to Hughes, who couldn’t miss the open goal from six yards out.

It took 92 minutes for Kosovo to have their first shot on goal, which drifted wide of Olivia Clark’s goal.

But there was still time for Hughes to add her second and Wales’ sixth after she slotted it beyond Demiri on the volley following a headed assist from Holland.

It capped an emphatic start to Wales’ qualifying campaign with 10 goals in their first two matches and none conceded.

Kosovo XI: Demiri; Ramadani, Avduli, Smaili, Ramaj; Memeti, Halilaj, Misini, Biqkaj; Hoti, Ejupi.

Wales XI: Clark; Green, Ladd, Evans, Woodham; Estcourt, Ingle, Holland, Rowe; Fishlock, Barton.