Brave Ireland denied by late German winner

Brave Ireland denied by late German winner

Republic of Ireland 2 Germany 3
5th Apr 2014

The Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team were unlucky to slip to a 3-2 defeat to European champions Germany in a thrilling FIFA World Cup qualifier at Tallaght Stadium.

In front of 1,623 supporters, the home team went ahead, then fell behind before Stephanie Roche levelled matters on 89 minutes only for Germany’s Melanie Leupolz to snatch a winner.

It was a rollercoaster game right from the start. In fact, the action had yet to even tick beyond its second minute when Louise Quinn stunned the visitors by heading in the opener.

After Julie-Ann Russell won a throw-in on the left touchline, the Ireland player filed forward ready to attack as Megan Campbell launched a long throw into the penalty area for Quinn to head in.

It was the perfect start for the home team as coming up against the Group 1 leaders, who had yet to concede a single goal in qualifying, was always going to be a daunting task.

Yet Ronan’s side were not overwhelmed by Germany and allowed their nerves to settle with that goal behind them. Set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, they were well organised and executing a solid game-plan.

With the energy of Fiona O’Sullivan up front, the industry of Julie-Ann Russell and Aine O’Gorman out wide, and the defensive covering of Dora Gorman, Ireland were keeping their opponents at bay.

In fact, captain Emma Byrne, who was setting a new record on her 106th senior cap, was only called on once in the first half when denying Simone Laudehr with a fine double save.

Germany did look dangerous on the break, but so did Ireland and Cork native Denise O’Sullivan almost found a way through when running on to a through ball from her namesake Fiona on 14 minutes.

Ronan’s team held their narrow one-goal lead going in at half-time, although the away side hit back just past the hour mark with a penalty converted by winger Laudehr.

Germany then took the lead when substitute Lena Lotzen scrambled in a goal from close range after tangling with Byrne, although Roche – also sprung off the pitch – hit back on 89 minutes.

The Peamount United striker drfited away from her marker to connect with a flick-on and convert a goal that looked to maintain Ireland’s unbeaten start to qualifying in Group 1.

However, a long-range strike from Leupolz denied them a point when she lobbed Byrne and secured the victory for Silvia Neid’s team. It was a cruel finish for the home side.

Next up for Ireland is a home qualifier against Russia on May 7, where they will be full of confidence about picking up a result considering their performance against the European champions.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Byrne; De Burca, Quinn, Campbell, Perry; Smyth (Grant 59), Gorman (Caldwell 85); O’Gorman, D O’Sullivan, Russell; F O’Sullivan (Roche 81).

GERMANY: Angerer; Schmidt, Krahn, Henning, Kemme (Lotzen h-t); Laudehr, Goebling, Kebler (Popp 70), Behringer (Leupolz 59); Mittag, Marozsan.

Referee: C Vitulano (ITA).