Jayne Ludlow: Wales 'excited' by Euro 2021 draw

Jayne Ludlow
Jayne Ludlow is one of Arsenal Ladies' greatest players

Wales manager Jayne Ludlow says her squad are "excited" by their draw for Euro 2021 and relishing the chance to progress to a first major finals.

Wales have been drawn with Norway, Belarus, Northern Ireland and Faroe Islands after a thrilling World Cup qualifying campaign that saw them push England to the last match.

Ludlow says the fixtures will be announced in the coming days.

"It is reality now, we know what is in front of us," she told BBC Sport Wales.

"We are really excited and it is full speed ahead.

"We will look forward to the first game."

Wales, now ranked 29th, lost twice to Norway as they finished third behind the group winners in their Euro 2017 qualifying section.

From the nine groups - two with six teams and seven with five - nine group leaders will qualify automatically along with the three best runners-up, while the six other second-placed teams will face play-offs for the final three spots.

Ties will be played from 26 August this year to 22 September 2020.

Norway, ranked 13 in the world, are the toughest side on paper in Group C, but Ludlow says playing the two-time European champions is an attractive challenge.

"Norway as a women's football nation are immense, with many trophies behind them, they are a very good team," she said.

"For us, it provides great competition and that's a game we will really look forward to. I know my players will particularly look forward to the two games with Norway.

"I am sure every member of our squad is excited and looking forward to the challenge."

Norway could be without Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural Women's Ballon d'Or award and is a club teammate of Wales' Jess Fishlock - but is not currently representing her nation in international football.

Ludlow says her side are ready to move on from their hugely successful campaign for World Cup qualification that saw them take England to a deciding qualifier.

"For us, we learned lessons in the last campaign… we feel we are far stronger for those experiences," Ludlow added.

"Hopefully people will stop talking about that previous campaign now because we didn't quite make it. For us now it is about what is ahead of us."

Euro 2021 qualifying draw

Group A: Netherlands, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, Kosovo, Estonia

Group B: Italy, Denmark, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, Malta, Georgia

Group C: Norway, Wales, Belarus, Northern Ireland, Faroe Islands

Group D: Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Moldova, Azerbaijan

Group E: Scotland, Finland, Portugal, Albania, Cyprus

Group F: Sweden, Iceland, Hungary, Slovakia, Latvia

Group G: France, Austria, Serbia, Kazakstan, Macedonia

Group H: Switzerland, Belgium, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania

Group I: Germany, Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Greece, Montenegro