FA Cup final appearances and being her country’s all-time top scorer already set Helen Ward apart as a footballer with a distinguished career behind her.

The opportunity to appear at a World Cup finals would, the Watford Ladies striker contests, top the lot. Doing so is a reality which is within touching distance for both Ward and Wales.

A commanding 3-0 win over Russia on Tuesday took Wales to the top of their qualifying group and victory over England in their final game would seal a spot at France 2019.

The magnitude of such an achievement is far from lost on Ward.

“It would be the pinnacle of my career to play at a World Cup. I am 32 now and have been fortunate to experience some great things in my career,” Ward said.

“I have played in FA Cup finals and played for my country 80 times and it has been unbelievable. There has always been a sense of can we make it to a major tournament. If we do that, I will happily retire form international football next summer.

“It would be huge for all of us. We have been together a long time and finally feel like it is clicking and this could be our time.”

The victory over Russia, which has been hailed as the biggest in Welsh women’s football history, ensured at the very least a second-place group finish and Ward says this side is setting new heights.

“It is a big win,” she said. “To go and beat a team like Russia, who this time last year were preparing for the Euros, is massive for us.

“It is testament to the job that the staff and players are doing and we are all putting in the hard graft. It is unbelievable to be part of it.

“With each game we are saying this is the biggest result and then another one comes along and that becomes the biggest one.”

Of course, safe passage to the World Cup is not yet secure and Wales will need an even bigger result if they are to do so.

England, who sit a point behind the Welsh in their qualifying group and have a game in hand, stand in their way.

Wales take on the Lionesses on home turf on August 31 in a game which will decide who tops the group.

Ward understands the size of the task facing Wales against their neighbours, but believes they can play with the freedom fostered by being underdogs.

“All the pressure is on England. It is Phil Neville’s first attempt to qualify as manager and he is expected to win the group. I suspect they would have thought they would have won it by now” she said.

“We will make it as unenjoyable for them as possible and go from there to try and cause an upset.

“We have outdone ourselves already but that doesn’t mean we are going to settle for anything. We are going to go out there and try and get the result we need.

“We can put everything into one game and if we come out with the three points then we are going to the World Cup.”