Irish women set for Swiss World Cup tie
The Republic of Ireland continue their FIFA World Cup, group 6 qualifying campaign this Wednesday (March 31st) as they host Switzerland in Richmond Park at 7.30pm.
Noel King's side currently sit in third place in the group 6 table, level on points with Russia and Switzerland. Russia do have two games in hand while Switzerland have played one less than the Irish.
The Irish boss has kept faith in the squad who successfully dispatched a tough Israel team 3-0 in Tel Aviv last week with the only addition being Salthill Devon midfielder, Julie Ann Russell who returns to action following a bout of glandular fever. The tricky midfielder is currently on international duty with the Republic of Ireland U19 team in Sweden where they are battling it out with Sweden, England and Turkey for a place in the UEFA Championship finals this summer. Irish U19 manager, Susan Ronan will now have to plan without her inspirational star for the remaining games of the qualifiers against Turkey and Sweden following an unlucky 3-0 defeat to England on Saturday.
Irish manager, Noel King has guided his side back into contention in group 6 with two consecutive away victories against Kazakhstan and Israel and has reiterated his desire to build on the momentum, "Obviously, this is one of the biggest games of our qualification campaign to date. We started the qualifiers with a 2-0 defeat in Switzerland where we produced one of our best performances for a long time. In that game , we were unlucky with a number of decisions and if we took our chances, the result may have been different. This is an opportunity for the team to prove that they are capable of competing and beating some of Europe's biggest teams on a consistent basis. We need to maintain that level of consistency against Europe's strongest teams if we are to continue our development," said King.
"We are in a good position in the group with just three games remaining, all of which are at home. The performances in the last three games against Kazakhstan, France (friendly) and Israel was very pleasing from my perspective but this is the game where we need to build on those performances and consolidate at least second place in the group - against a very strong and technical Swiss side. We all know that qualifying for the World Cup is a difficult ask as there are only four places available for the eight UEFA qualifying groups but we have left ourselves in a decent position to challenge Switzerland and Russia at the top of the group so Wednesday's game will be very telling in terms of the final run-in in group 6," he said.
Noel King said that the Switzerland, who are currently four places above Ireland in the FIFA Women's Rankings are a team whose example of developing international football is a blueprint for other associations to follow, " Switzerland are reaping the rewards of a major restructuring programme at international level a number of years ago. The Swiss FA invested heavily in full-time training regimes for their youth and women's sides and that successful venture has been evident in recent times with the emergence of top quality sides in European competition, both in the men's and women's game," added King.
FIFA Women's World Cup qualifier - Group 6
Republic of Ireland v Switzerland
Wednesday, March 31st 2010
Richmond Park, Dublin
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Republic of Ireland squad
Emma Byrne - Arsenal FC
Jemma Connor - Birmingham
Meabh de Burca - Salthill Devon
Niamh Fahey - Arsenal FC
Ciara Grant - Arsenal FC
Sonya Hughes - St. Francis
Ciara McCormack - Kolbotn FC
Mary Therese McDonnell - Chicago Red Stars
Shannon McDonnell - Unattached
Michele O'Brien - Unattached
Áine O'Gorman - Peamount
Fiona O'Sullivan - Chicago Redstars
Louise Quinn - Peamount
Stephanie Roche - Raheny United
Julie Ann Russell - Salthill Devon
Yvonne Tracy - Arsenal FC
Rebecca Creagh - Raheny United
Aisling Dyer - Stella Maris