Spain 3 - 0 Republic of Ireland
VIDEO: Classy Spanish defeat IRLWNT in Madrid
A controversial penalty decision in just the 2nd minute handed Spain the opportunity of a dream start. Captain Veronica Boquete stepped up to drill the ball to Emma Byrne’s left only for the Ireland keeper to make a stunning save.
The hosts continued to command possesion but failed to create another clear cut chance in the first half hour. 39 minutes in, a dangerous cross from the left wing saw Celia Jimenez head towards goal only for Niamh Fahey to stop the goalbound header.
Alexis Putellas came closest to breaking the deadlock when she beat the offside trap in the 41st minute and with a delicate chip over the advancing Emma Byrne, her shot went narrowly past the far post.
Ireland came more and more into the game and following a cynical foul on Denise O’Sullivan, Julie-Ann Russell’s free kick was nodded down in the box by Louise Quinn and Stephanie Roche was mere centimetres away from giving Ireland the lead.
Such was Ireland’s first half performance, the Spaniards made two changes at the break. Playing into the wind in the second half, Ireland came out fighting. A marauding run from Katie McCabe saw the winger win a free-kick on the edge of the Spain area. Stephanie Roche steped up to take the resulting free kick only for Dolores Gallardo in the Spanish goal to save.
Disaster struck in the 59th minute as a quick one-two saw Alexia Putellas get to the end line and cross for Veronica Bouquet to fire home. Ireland faced an uphill battle from there and just six minutes later Spain added a second. Leila Ouahabi found space on the left flank to whip an inviting ball to the back post where Veronica Boquete powered a header into the far corner to score her second of the game.
Sue Ronan made immediate changes with Jessica Gleeson and Ruesha Littlejohn coming on for Niamh Fahey and Julie-Ann Russell as Ireland pushed to get back in the game. Spain showed just why they are top of the group with maximum points as they continued to look dangerous in the final third. Louise Quinn came to Ireland’s rescue in the 80th with a vital block from substitute Jennifer Hermoso’s shot.
Hermoso did eventually find the net in the 86th minute. Louise Quinn cleared a cross from Celia Jimenez but Hermoso buried the loose ball past Emma Byrne from 18 yards to give Spain a third and sealed the 3-0 win.
Next up for Ireland is a trip to Finland in June before hosting Montenegro four days later with qualification for the finals still firmly in Ireland’s hands.
Spain WNT: Dolores Gallardo (GK), Celia Jimenez, Leila Ouahabi, Andrea Pereira, Ruth Garcia, Virginia Torrecilla, Marta Torrejon, Veronica Boquete, Alexia Putellas, Erika Vasquez, Amanda Sampedro.
Substitutions: Vicky Losada for Ruth García, Marta Corredera for Erika Vázquez (both HT), Jennifer Hermoso for Veronica Boquete (75 minutes).
Republic of Ireland WNT: Emma Byrne (c), Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahey, Karen Duggan, Diane Caldwell, Aine O’Gorman, Denise O’Sullivan, Julie-Ann Russell, Stephanie Roche, Katie McCabe, Meabh De Burca
Ruesha Littlejohn for Julie Russell, Jessica Gleeson for Niamh Fahey (both 69 minutes), Fiona O’Sullivan for Katie McCabe (69 mins)
IRLWNT set sights on WEURO2017 qualification
The Girls in Green come into the game on the back of a 5-0 win away to Montenegro on Thursday with the Spaniards coming away from Portugal with a 4-1 win on Friday night. Maximum points from the two games was the aim for the team and with the job half done following Thursday’s win, the focus has shifted to Tuesday’s clash with Spain.
Ireland captain Emma Byrne spoke to FAI TV where she outlined that qualification remains the team’s main focus. “Qualification has been our aim from the very start. The result against Finland was a bit of a knock back and a blow for us because we were expecting to beat them. It doesn’t hinder us in any way because we are still in with a great chance of qualifying. Spain are number one seeds and a really good team, but there is no reason why, that if we perform well that we can’t go out and beat them.“
Group leaders Spain have a perfect record of five wins from five in Group 2, scoring 18 goals in the process. A managerial change in the summer had seen a resurgence from the Spainish, however, having already faced them in Dublin, Byrne is quietly confident heading into the game. “There is a good feeling in our camp. Confidence has grown, especially since the win in Montenegro so it’s a good time for us to play Spain, in Spain, because I think we play better away from home as well,” Byrne, who made her 125th international appearance on Thursday added.
Republic of Ireland Head Coach Sue Ronan is without full back Sophie Perry for the game due to work commitments while Shelbourne ‘keeper Niamh Reid-Burke has been ruled out as she continues her rehabilitation from an ankle injury.
The action gets underway in Madrid at 5pm Irish Time on Tuesday and live updates of the game will be provided on https://www.fai.ie as well as the Official FAIreland Facebook, Instagram & Twitter accounts before, during and after the game.
Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team Squad to face Spain:
Goalkeepers: Emma Byrne (Arsenal), Grace Moloney (Reading)
Defenders: Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United), Jessica Gleeson (Wexford Youths), Niamh Fahey (Chelsea), Meabh De Burca (Galway) Aine O’Gorman (UCD Waves).
Midfielders: Karen Duggan (UCD Waves), Denise O’Sullivan (Houston Dash), Diane Caldwell (Kóln), Ruesha Littlejohn (Glasgow City), Julie-Ann Russell (UCD Waves), Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Emma Hansberry (Wexford Youths), Jetta Berrill (UCD Waves)
Forwards: Stephanie Roche (Sunderland), Fiona O’Sullivan (California Storm), Clare Shine (Glasgow City)
- 13 Sandra Paños (G)
- 7 Marta Corredera
- 10 Jennifer Hermoso
- 14 Vicky Losada
- 15 Olga García
- 16 Alexandra
- 17 María José Pérez
Republic of Ireland
- 23 Grace Moloney (G)
- 9 Ruesha Littlejohn
- 12 Fiona O'Sullivan
- 14 Jessica Gleeson
- 18 Emma Hansberry
- 19 Clare Shine
- 20 Jetta Berrill
- Referee Linn Andersson
- Assistant Referees Anna Nyström
- UEFA Delegate Anne Rei
- Assistant Referee Two Josefin Aronsson
- Fourth Official Rocio Puente Pino
- Referee Observer Ilonka Milanova Djaleva
- Republic of Ireland
Shots on Target
Shots off Target
Republic of Ireland
8Shots on Goal4
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