Wales have been relegated from the top tier of the Nations League after they were beaten 2-1 by Iceland in Cardiff.
Hildur Antonsdottir’s goal against the run of play in the first half ended Welsh hopes of a victory they required to ensure they avoided relegation.
Iceland doubled their advantage when substitute Dilja Zomers fired home a lovely effort from distance.
Substitute Elise Hughes’ injury-time header came too late to give Wales a chance of staging a comeback.
Wales have struggled in the Nations League and lost all five of their Group A3 games.
Gemma Grainger’s side dominated for much of the contest at Cardiff City Stadium, but they were made to pay for failing to take their chances in what has been a campaign of brutal realities as to the work needed for Wales to compete with Europe’s top nations.
Ultimately their relegation has come down to two narrow defeats against Iceland, though the world rankings do give some context to the results in this campaign, with Wales up against the sides ranked sixth (Germany) 12th (Denmark) and 14th (Iceland).
By comparison, Wales are ranked 29th and they will now turn their attention to Euro qualifying and a chance to reach a first major finals.
Grainger’s side knew they had to take the shackles off against Iceland on a night where nothing other than a win would be good enough to prevent their relegation from the top tier of the Nations League.
The absence of Leicester forward Hannah Cain was a big blow for Wales, but they nonetheless started the game with exactly the tempo and intensity required as they pushed hard for an early goal.
Wales pressed Iceland as high as they could and dominated the early exchanges, with Jess Fishlock firing wide and seeing a penalty appeal turned down and another effort blocked.
Recalled forwards Kayleigh Green and Ceri Holland also had efforts off target as Wales made all the running and attacked with regularity.
However, they suffered a sucker punch on 29 minutes as they paid the price for failing to take their chances.
Antonsdottir poked home from close range after Hayley Ladd slipped as she attempted to clear a cross from Saedis Heidarsdottir that Wales failed to deal with.
A failure to cut out crosses has been a key component of Wales’ defensive issues in this campaign, and they will be forced to reflect on how they could not turn promising performances into points against Iceland home and away, and Denmark away.
Iceland’s opener came from their first effort on goal and Wales did their best to respond before the break, but Angharad James’ dipping volley missed the upright and Fishlock’s powerful effort was saved by Telma Ivarsdottir.
It was the visitors who had the chance to extend their lead on 57 minutes as Olivia Clark saved Selma Sol Magnusdottir’s shot before Hlin Eiriksdottir turned the rebound home, only to be rightly denied as she handballed to control it.
However, Iceland’s goal against the run of play appeared to deflate Wales who struggled to create as many openings in the second half.
Their fate was sealed by a classy Iceland second goal on 79 minutes, as Zomers cut in from the left and fired home a precise effort into the bottom corner of the net.
There was time for Hughes to head home a late consolation effort for Wales, but it did not alter their fate.
Wales will complete their Nations League campaign with a home game against Germany at the Swansea.com Stadium on Tuesday, 5 December.
- 5RobertsSubstituted forMorganat 73′minutes
- 9GreenSubstituted forHughesat 64′minutes
- 12ÍvarsdóttirBooked at 82mins
- 18ArnardóttirSubstituted forÁrnadóttirat 64′minutes
- 6SigurdardóttirBooked at 62mins
- 16AntonsdóttirSubstituted forJóhannsdóttirat 73′minutes
- 21HalldórsdóttirSubstituted forÁsgrímsdóttirat 81′minutes
- 3JessenSubstituted forZomersat 64′minutes
- 14EiríksdóttirSubstituted forNíelsdóttirat 73′minutes