Ireland take on Finland in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday. Here’s everything you need to know about the game.
Where and when?
The match takes place at the Tallaght Stadium in Dublin with kick off at 7:00 p.m. Ireland scored a famous victory in Helsinki last October to launch their bid for qualification.
What’s the team news?
Vera Pauw named a 28-person squad for both games, with recalls for Eve Badana, Harriet Scott, Megan Campbell, Ellen Molloy, Leanne Kiernan and Hayley Nolan. The quartet of Savannah McCarthy, Aoife Colvill, Rianna Jarrett and Kyra Carusa are missing through injury.
Republic of Ireland WNT team
Guardians: Courtney Brosnan (Everton), Grace Moloney (Reading), Megan Walsh (Brighton), Eve Badana (DLR Waves)
Defenders: Harriet Scott, Louise Quinn (Birmingham C), Claire O’Riordan (Celtic), Diane Caldwell (Reading), Niamh Fahey, Megan Campbell) (Liverpool), Hayley Nolan (London City Lionesses), Chloe Mustaki (Bristol City), Áine O’Gorman (Peamount United)
Midfielders: Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Megan Connolly (Brighton), Ruesha Littlejohn (Aston Villa), Jamie Finn, Lucy (Birmingham C), Ciara Grant (Hearts), Lily Agg (London City Lionesses ), Ellen Molloy (Wexford Youth), Jess Ziu (West Ham)
Forwards: Heather Payne (Florida State University), Amber Barrett (FFC Turbine Potsdam), Leanne Kiernan (Liverpool), Abbie Larkin (Shelbourne), Saoirse Noonan (Durham WFC)
What’s at stake?
It’s not win or miss for Ireland, but it’s a huge game. A win will secure a playoff spot for the 2023 World Cup final. Even a draw would leave Republic well placed to qualify for the playoffs with one more game in Slovakia to come.
What to read about it on Independent.ie?
We already have a lot of pre-game preparation for you to enjoy.
“Thursday’s encounter with Finland will be the greatest game in Irish women’s football history. That’s what the World Cup qualifying campaign, Vera Pauw’s reign and everything that happened past since the players’ strike have led.”
Eamonn Sweeney has this piece on a game that “could start the Irish sporting odyssey to end them all”.
“Is the success of the tournament a turning point, by which hashtags and slogans in the promotion of women’s sport can be removed?”
Nadine Doherty also covered the magnitude of the game in her Sunday Independent column, with the scenes seen as England hosted and won a Euro 2022 tournament. Ireland painfully missed a potentially turning point in the popularity of women’s sport.
Where can I watch the game?
The match will be broadcast live on RTE 2, with coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. It will also be streamed worldwide on the RTE Player.
What do they say in the camp?
“We have Finland, we have Slovakia, hope we get a play-off, hope we get the World Cup. We are in the middle of a qualifying campaign, you might think it’s the end, but for me it’s the middle.
“Everyone’s experience is like that, it’s the environment. There’s at least in my opinion we have to win this next game and then we’ll have the game against Slovakia and then hopefully we’ll have play-offs in October and then maybe we’ll have to go in February to New -Zealand. First this game, which is crucial, if we lose this game, it can just explode.
“It’s a very, very good team. A lot of their players went to really good clubs in the WSL and they spent the summer together as a team.
“We have to be realistic. It’s a very good team that was at the Euro. We know what we faced in Helsinki and we were on top of our game and we will have to be again.