"It was not luck" Vera Pauw on qualifying for the 2023 FIFA World Cup

"It was not luck" Vera Pauw on qualifying for the 2023 FIFA World Cup "It was not luck" Vera Pauw on qualifying for the 2023 FIFA World Cup
Neasa Kennedy

The Republic of Ireland squad have made history and have qualified for the 2023 FIFA World Cup after defeating Scotland 1-0 in Hampden Park.

Manager Vera Pauw spoke to HerSport following the teams return to Dublin "It's starting to sink in, but the moment that the final whistle went it was just 'We're going to the World Cup, what happened here!? and everybody was in shock"

Pauw remarked on how their loss to the Ukraine and subsequently missing out on the European Championships added to their determination to reach a major tournament and to prove themselves.

"After the battle in Ukraine where we lost qualification for the playoffs for the European Championships, we said there in the dressing room 'We are going to the World Cup, this will not happen to us again' and that determination has brought us to where we are."


"The biggest thing we learned from it is if you want to succeed you can not make stupid mistakes because that is usually the difference between going or not going"

Amber Barrett was the hero of the night sliding in a superbly controlled ball into the corner of the net. When asked if introducing Barrett was part of their game plan, Pauw said: "Amber was more for the last minute to give power" but with the way the game developed, Pauw was reminded of the Donegal woman's determination. "She had said to me during the week 'Vera if you will put me on, I will make that goal'"

"Our game was getting that ball past the defence, exactly how it actually went, and I thought Amber is the one who is so direct and determined to go to that goal she will do it. So I said to my assistant I am going to bring on Amber"

Goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan was also incredibly influential and a key player throughout the game making an incredible save to deny Scotland's Caroline Weir a penalty kick. Pauw remarked "It was not luck. We knew exactly who would kick it, which corner"


The squad have come up against tough competition in this campaign with games against top teams such as Finland and Sweden, and have been viewed somewhat as underdogs. However, based on last nights performance they have proved that they are serious competitors and this is a testament to their preparation. At half time the team knew they were just one win away from guaranteed qualification to the World Cup as the result from the Portugal and Iceland game was cemented.

The Republic of Ireland manager said this was crucial in how she prepared her squad for the second half. "I heard that Portugal had won 4-1 and they [the team] had to know that as it might give that little bit of extra edge to not go into extra time, to not go to penalty kicks, and to really go for it and know that one goal could be enough to go to the World Cup"

Pauw felt this was something her players needed to know and that they would not succumb to the pressure. "I know my players, they do not freeze from something like that, they get even more out of their body"

The Dutch-born manager is adamant it is the passion and determination of her squad that got last nights result and that ultimately, they wanted it more than the Scottish side.

"It's the absolute determination of the squad. After the Ukraine game, the way they said 'We are going to the World Cup'"

What the Girls in Green have achieved will play an integral part in "inspiring girls that they can achieve anything as long as their heart is in it and they really go for it". Growing up as a triplet with two brothers she remarked how important it is for females to have role models to look up to saying "it means so much".

The historic achievement of this Irish squad has been somewhat tainted due to a video that went viral of the team singing a song associated with the IRA, leading to an official apology from the FAI.

"Those players inspire so many people and in light of that it is hurting us so much with what happened and what went out on social media because it's not us, it's not the way that we deal and the first thing we have above everything is respect for each other. It's something so deep in the culture and background of Ireland and we've hurt people and even if it's not intended, it's wrong and it shouldn't have happened, and I hope it's a huge learning curve and that it maybe goes beyond this team because it doesn't matter that it went on social media, it's wrong in itself even if it's for people in a little room"

It is clear that Pauw has a special bond and admiration for this Irish squad. Asking her what it is about them that has made her continue to stick with them after all they've been through "I felt there's something special happening here. And it could've gone the other way yesterday of course, but the feeling from so deep down inside that we would make it,  I think is what made the difference''

"There was not a cell in my body even thinking about a contract, because [in my head] my contract ends after the Summer and everyone started to laugh but I felt that very deep down inside and that is what the players also felt"

"I had Katie [McCabe] saying please stay because we need continuity, we can not start over again''.

Adding to the bond she has with the squad, Pawu said: "I think that is what links us together, it's the warmth, and what I get paid back from them over these last few weeks has been incredible. The way they lift me, the way they kept me on my feet. The whole Irish population has kept me on my feet and put their arms around me."

The Girls in Green have made history after another amazing night for Irish sport. The squad will travel to Australia next year for the 2023 FIFA World Cup and the momentum with women's football rumbles on.

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