Photo Cred: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Ireland’s hope to advance in the FIFA Women's World Cup comes to an end in a heartbreaking 2-1 loss against Canada today (Wednesday, July 26).
Due to their 0-1 loss against Australia on July 20 and being the only loss in their group, Ireland needed a tie or a win in order to advance. Goals in the late first half and early second half by Canada thwarted their plans.
Ireland started the game in the lead with a stunning olimpico goal in the fourth minute by captain Katie McCabe off of a corner kick. An olimpico is a goal scored directly off of a corner kick without any contact by another player.
The Irish played a strong first half and had chances to score but were unable to get the ball in the net.
An own goal by Megan Connolly in the 49th minute of the first half, which saw the ball skim off her foot into the back of the net due to the heavy rain, seemed to be the turning point in the game for the Irish, as Canada began gaining traction.
"We've experienced that before and we've spoken so much about it but at the end of the first half, you have to keep everything, the organisation, tight and it was one moment where there was no cover," said Ireland’s manager, Vera Pauw, in a post match interview with RTE (Raidió Teilifís Éireann).
The Irish were now unable to go into the break with a valuable lead. Something that would have been a cushion in helping them navigate attacks by the Canadians.
The second half began with a 1-1 tie which was quickly changed to a 2-1 Canadian lead by a goal by Adriana Leon eight minutes into the half.
Ireland made five substitutions within the first 20 minutes of the second half, with teenager Abbie Larkin introduced for Lucy Quinn on the right of the attack during the interval.
“They stepped up and she was sandwiched, she couldn't get really out. We tried with Marissa Sheva on the right to try and get space forwards, we tried with Lily Agg to get more pressure forward - she's a goalscorer - and then we played 15 minutes with a 4-2-4 which with execution we've done better before,” said Pauw.
Despite their effort, the team was unable to put another goal in the back of the net, resulting in the loss.
“Against the Olympic champions, again we can be proud of what we've shown but yeah, we're out,” said Pauw.
Although they are no longer advancing past the group stage, Ireland plays Nigeria on Monday, July 31, against Nigeria at 11am IST.