It promises to be another exciting year for the game in Wales in 2024. Here’s a look ahead to some of the key events across the international front and for Clubs across the Genero Adran Leagues and JD Cymru Leagues.
Despite narrowly missing out on automatic qualification for EURO 2024, Rob Page’s squad will have home advantage for the play-offs in March. Finland are the visitors to the Cardiff City Stadium on 21 March for the semi-final with the winners taking on either Poland or Estonia a few days later for one of the final three places at the finals that Germany will host during the summer.
Cymru qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup through the play-offs and the experience of those two home games against Austria and Ukraine could be crucial as the side look to succeed in this latest challenge, and with it qualify for a third successive EURO. Page will be hopeful that captain Aaron Ramsey can return to full-fitness ahead of the deciding fixtures.
Relegation from League A of the inaugural UEFA Women’s Nations League was a bitter-sweet experience for Gemma Grainger and her side as they ended the campaign and 2023 with one of their best-ever results as Germany were held to a 0-0 draw in Swansea back in December. Although Cymru finished bottom of League A3, the experience of competing against Europe’s elite will serve the side well when qualification for EURO 2025 begins in April.
The draw for the EURO 2025 qualifiers will take place on 5 March with the action starting the following month. The qualification campaign will take place throughout 2024 and Grainger has targeted a place at the finals that will take place in Switzerland having seen her side develop and progress since her appointment, culminating in that impressive point against Germany.
Matty Jones’ Cymru U21 side will have the chance to make history in 2024 and qualify for the UEFA U21 EURO Championship Finals for the very first time. Currently second in Group I after five games, a string of impressive performances and results have put Cymru in a strong position as they prepare for their final three games which start at home against Lithuania on 22 March.
Meanwhile, Craig Knight’s Cymru MU17 side won their qualification group in November and can now prepare for the Elite round of fixtures against Bulgaria, Sweden and the hosts Romania in March. Knight guided his squad to the UEFA U17 EURO Championship Finals in 2023 and will be desperate to repeat that achievement with his current crop of players. However, Rob Edwards’ MU19 side failed to make it through their qualification group and will need to go again in 2024.
Nic Anderson’s Cymru WU19 side will look to bounce back to Group A in April when they take on North Macedonia, Moldova and Lithuania in Group B1, while Nia Davies’ WU17 side will be desperate to retain their place in Group A having gained promotion as convincing group winners in November when they take on Sweden, Norway and Switzerland in March.
The New Saints and Cardiff City remain on course to retain their JD Cymru Premier and Genero Adran Premier titles respectively as the two domestic champions head into 2024 as league leaders. Meanwhile, Briton Ferry Llansawel lead the way in the JD Cymru South and Andy Dyer’s side will get to test their top-flight credentials when they host The New Saints in the JD Welsh Cup in February. Airbus UK Broughton, Flint Town United and Holywell Town are all well-positioned in the JD Cymru North moving into the new year.
Cardiff City will take on rivals Swansea City in the semi-final of the Bute Energy Welsh Cup in March while The New Saints face Wrexham, with the four teams remaining in the competition making up the top half of the table. Briton Ferry Llansawel are also setting the standard in Genero Adran South while Connah’s Quay Nomads have the advantage over closest-rivals Llandudno in the Genero Adran North. With titles, trophies and promotion all to play for in 2024, it is set to be another dramatic end to the respective domestic campaigns.
In the latest FC Cymru FAW Chief Executive Noel Mooney thanks everyone for their hard work across all levels of Welsh football over the past year as he looks towards 2024.
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!