Switzerland 2-1 Wales: Fabienne Humm’s extra-time winner deprives Gemma Grainger’s side of a place at the 2023 Women’s World Cup | Soccer News

Wales suffered in the World Cup play-offs as Switzerland ended their final dream with a 2-1 extra-time win in Zurich.

Rhiannon Roberts gave underdogs Wales a 19th-minute lead before Ramona Bachmann, the best player on the pitch, equalized on the stroke of half-time.

Wales were seconds away from taking the penalty shoot-out, but tired legs didn’t stop Geraldine Reuteler’s 120th-minute cross and Fabienne Humm’s clever finish at the near post.

It was a brave performance from Wales, ranked nine places below 21st-placed Switzerland, who occasionally tried their luck against polished hosts.

Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic wasted a second-half penalty chance, and Bachmann had another effort ruled out as Wales survived until the dying moments.

Wales coach Gemma Grainger named the same team that beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0 in their play-off semi-final on Thursday.

Jess Fishlock had settled that Cardiff tie with a sublime volley in extra time, and the veteran midfielder earned her 136th cap in a side led by Chelsea’s Sophie Ingle.

Switzerland dominated possession but Wales were content to defend with a low block and deny them space in the final third.

Viola Calligaris fired through a crowd of players from 20 yards out and hit the outside of a post with Wales keeper Laura O’Sullivan battered.

But Wales stunned the Zurich crowd after 19 minutes when Switzerland’s fallibility from set pieces was revealed.

Kayleigh Green got a valuable touch from a corner, and Roberts was on hand to score his second international goal from two yards out.

Switzerland had failed to manage a single attempted goal by the end of the first half, but that was to end in dramatic fashion when Wales were sliced.

Arsenal pair Lia Walti and Noelle Maritz combined superbly to find Bachmann, who swept past O’Sullivan for his 57th international goal.

Switzerland were clearly lifted by the equalizer and Svenja Folmli and Crnogorcevic both went close just after the break.

VAR then intervened and referee Tess Olofsson found Rachel Rowe guilty of handling Crnogorcevic’s head, even though she was close to the Swiss striker and her arm appeared to be in a natural position.

Crnogorcevic sent the kick against the post and converted the rebound after the ball returned directly to him.

But with no contact from a Welsh player between the pair, the goal was properly disallowed.

Switzerland’s control was nearly complete throughout the second half as Wales rarely came out of their own half.

There was almost a sucker shot with Ceri Holland and Fishlock setting up Green for a shot that was deflected onto the roof of the Swiss net.

It looked like Swiss pressure had kicked in when Bachmann rolled Hayley Ladd six minutes in from time to time, but VAR spotted an offside in the build-up and Wales were given a lifeline .

Bachmann, Crnogorcevic and Rachel Rinast failed to convert chances in extra time, and Rowe’s goal-line clearance nearly secured penalties until substitute Humm intervened dramatically.

Grainger: Defeat is hard to take but I’m proud

Head coach Gemma Grainger has admitted Wales’ exit from the World Cup was “incredibly hard to take”.

Grainger said BBC Wales: “It’s incredibly difficult to cash in. We know that the margins at this level are good and that was seen tonight.

“But I’m incredibly proud of this group. I’m proud that we’re competing at this level and the plan for us is to keep doing that.

“We take so much pride in it (campaign), but I know we’re disappointed right now because we know we can win these games and be successful.”

The Dragons needed extra time on Thursday to beat Bosnia and Herzegovina in the play-off semi-final and Grainger’s side were visibly tired at Stadion Letzigrund as they played another 120 minutes.

“You have to look at what we’ve done in this campaign,” Grainger said. “The mentality that we showed here, playing against this team from Switzerland away, you saw our resilience.

“We went through another period of extra time, and we were so close to leading this game on penalties.

“The overriding emotion has to be disappointment. To concede the goal at that point is really difficult because when you get to that point you are preparing to go to the penalty shootout.”

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