Wales need only a draw against Slovenia in their final Group I qualifier to secure a place in the World Cup play-offs after a 1-0 win in Greece.
Teenage Carrie Jones’ first international goal gave Wales victory in Volos.
They now return to Cardiff for a delicious group final on Tuesday.
Should Wales avoid defeat by Slovenia, their direct rivals, they will be in the World Cup play-offs for the first time.
Slovenia previously beat unbeaten bottom of Group I Kazakhstan 1-0 and if they beat Wales would climb above them to second place and Gemma Grainger’s side regret a missed opportunity.
It’s likely that Wales, supported by a record crowd of more than 10,000 fans at Cardiff City Stadium, would not want to think about having given themselves a golden opportunity to break new ground.
While there is still work to be done before they can start planning for their first major tournament appearance, they remain on the hunt as they have done little wrong in this qualifying campaign so far.
Their only defeats came to runaway group winners France and they started out as clear favorites to win in Greece, having beaten the same opponents 5-0 at Llanelli on a freezing night last November.
Conditions were very different in Volos, with thunder and lightning over the Panthessaliko Stadium in the Greek late summer heat, but that didn’t stop Wales from taking control again.
The visitors, who left record-breaking player Jess Fishlock on the bench through injury, settled down after a bumpy start and dominated both possession and territory while Greece sat deep.
Ceri Holland had Wales’ first sight, a header from Rhiannon Roberts’ cross that went over the bar before the Liverpool midfielder’s vigilance nearly scored the opening goal.
Holland intercepted a stray Greek pass and stormed into the box, repelling a nice save from Zoi Nasi with a shot aimed into the far corner.
From the following corner, a cross from Natasha Harding flew dangerously over the Greek goal before Wales took the lead from a set piece in the 34th minute.
Rachel Rowe drilled a free-kick about halfway into the box where Gemma Evans switched on for 18-year-old Jones.
Although her first try was blocked, the Leicester City midfielder, on loan from Manchester United, made no mistake on the second try, driving the ball home from eight yards despite Nasi’s efforts.
Wales had worked hard to gain their lead but almost squandered it within two minutes when Eleni Markou rushed forward, only Laura O’Sullivan making a crucial save.
Greece showed more attacking intent in the second half, although it was Wales who came close when Jones was selected by Hayley Ladd. This time she was rejected by Nasi.
Next, Jones launched a brilliant run that ended with Angharad James aiming from 20 yards, but again Nasi was there to save.
Wales failed to extend their lead, causing tension until the end when Rowe made an important block as the ball fell invitingly for Vasiliki Giannaka.
That was Wales’ work done for the night – well, to finish Tuesday’s work.
Wales manager Gemma Grainger:
“It’s very satisfying. We wanted to get three points and we wanted to concede.
“To see Carrie Jones score her first senior goal, to see our players preparing for that level after we made a change in the team after Jess [Fishlock] take a hit and then be able to play at that level – we want to be a tournament team and we know that tournament teams have depth.
“It’s very gratifying for a number of reasons, but it’s really gratifying to go into the final game knowing we need a point and that’s a position we’ve put ourselves in.
“Our game management tonight was exceptional and this team didn’t have to do that. For the best teams, 1-0 is a great result.”
- 23Are you coming along
- 8thSidiraReplaced byGeorgiouat 69′protocol
- 16NephrouBooked at 42 minutes
- 21cogguliReplaced bySpyridonidouat 76′protocol
- 10sarriReplaced byChatzinikolaouat 81′protocol
- 13RoweBooked at 37 minutes
- 8thJames90 minutes booked
- 9GreenReplaced bystationat 90+6′protocol
- 10fish curl
Game ends, Greece Women 0, Wales Women 1.
Second Half ends, Greece Women 0, Wales Women 1.
Foul by Ceri Holland (Wales Women).
Maria Mitkou (Greece Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside Wales, women. Angharad James tries a through ball, but Carrie Jones is caught offside.
Substitution, Wales, women. Helen Ward replaces Kayleigh Green.
Angharad James (Wales Women) is shown a yellow card.
Carrie Jones (Wales Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Maria Palama (Greek women).
Corner, Wales Women. Goal conceded by Maria Mitkou.
Offside Wales, women. Angharad James tries a through ball, but Kayleigh Green is caught offside.
attempt saved. Rachel Rowe (Wales Women) right footed shot from left side from a difficult angle and from long range is saved in the center of the goal. Assisted by Carrie Jones.
attempt blocked. Natasha Harding (Wales Women) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Rachel Rowe.
attempt saved. Eleni Markou (Greece Women) header from the center of the box is saved in the center of the goal. Assisted by Maria Mitkou.
Substitution, Greece women. Despoina Chatzinikolaou replaces Veatriki Sarri.
Foul by Hayley Ladd (Wales Women).
Eleni Markou (Greece Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Greece women. Anastasia Spyridonidou replaces Sophia Koggouli.
Foul by Carrie Jones (Wales Women).
Tatiana Georgiou (Greece Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.