Finland money

Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Finland set to take place at Aviva Stadium to show faith in equality

THE Girls in Green are due to move to the Aviva Stadium for their crucial qualifier against Finland on September 1.

That would demonstrate more action than any equal word – and there’s a gap in the event junkie market for that to work.

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Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Finland set to take place at Aviva Stadium1 credit
Barcelona vs Real Madrid at the Camp Nou set a new world attendance record for a women's football match, at 91,553

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Barcelona vs Real Madrid at the Camp Nou set a new world attendance record for a women’s football match, at 91,553Credit: Getty

Vera Pauw’s Ireland squad are in Sweden on Tuesday for a World Cup qualifier which realistically is a game where there is a moral victory.

The Swedes beat Georgia 15-0 on Thursday, meaning they only need one point to qualify.

The gap between the top and middle levels of women’s football is huge.

Pauw said at the start of the campaign that Ireland were fighting for second place and a play-off and that remains the case.

A consequence of the disparity between the teams is that the fight for second place is effectively decided over a few games.

Ireland lost to Ukraine in their Euro bid as they traveled to Kyiv with a draw in December 2020 and lost 1-0.

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And that World Cup qualifying campaign is set to be decided in the penultimate game against Finland.

Ireland already recorded the biggest win in their history in Finland last October – the first time they beat a higher-seeded side in an away qualifier.

If they can make the World Cup, Helsinki will become this team’s version of the men’s victory at Hampden Park in 1987 on their way to Euro 88.

The home game will be the most important for a national team this year.

But the fact that Tuesday’s match in Sweden kicks off at 5:30 p.m. to avoid a clash with the men’s Champions League games is a reminder of reality.

RTÉ broadcasts both matches and UEFA easily demanded them to gain prime time for what most viewers want.

Even in Ireland, Real Madrid-Chelsea will draw a bigger draw than Sweden against Girls in Green.

But the world record attendance for a women’s game of 91,553 when Barcelona met Real at Camp Nou a fortnight ago highlights what is possible.

BLUE-WN AWAY

This was a case of the stars lining up for this match – a Women’s Champions League El Clasico played at the Camp Nou rather than the 6,000 capacity Johan Cruyff Stadium. Ticket prices were also between €9 and €15 compared to €59 for the cheapest ticket for the men’s side’s next La Liga outing.

Ireland-Finland has all the ingredients to help women’s football here take a giant leap into the public consciousness.

Tallaght has been the team’s home for the past decade and they have yet to sell out despite the availability of affordable and often free tickets.

But September presents a unique opportunity thanks to others dropping out of the month.

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The All-Ireland final will take place in July, while the absurdity of the FIFA World Cup means there will be no men’s international window at the end of August or September for the first time since 1977 .

For now, the much-maligned event junkie has money but nowhere to go.