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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

Talk of a new deal on hold as Ireland boss takes on her biggest challenge

Vera Pauw is hoping to lead Ireland to an unlikely victory over Germany at Tallaght Stadium on 1 December.

Republic of Ireland senior women's manager Vera Pauw.
Republic of Ireland senior women's manager Vera Pauw.
Image: Tim Groothuis/INPHO

VERA PAUW HAS insisted that she won’t discuss her future as Republic of Ireland senior women’s manager until after her side’s interest in the European Championships comes to an end.

That may well happen as soon as 1 December, when the Girls in Green conclude their Group I campaign with a qualifying match against Germany at Tallaght Stadium.

However, Pauw is eager to oversee a monumental upset as Ireland aim to qualify for a major tournament for the first time.

In August, the Football Association of Ireland announced that Pauw will remain in charge if qualification for the Euros in England in July 2022 is achieved.

Unless Montenegro force an unlikely slip-up from Ukraine, Ireland will require a victory against Germany to advance to the play-offs.

Pauw says that while she’s keen to remain at the helm, discussions over a new deal will have to wait until after a game she describes as “probably the biggest” challenge of her career.

“I just cannot think about the future,” she said. “1 December is the next deadline. We play at 5pm so we’ll see at 7.30pm if we’re preparing for the play-offs or we need to talk about the future.

“I mean that, I’m not trying to be cheeky. I’ve not talked to the FAI about it. It’s not in my heart to talk about my contract. The only thing is beating Germany.”

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Pauw, who was appointed as successor to Colin Bell in September of last year, boasts a wealth of experience in international management, having previously coached Scotland, Netherlands, Russia and South Africa.

In taking on the team ranked second in the world, the 57-year-old Dutchwoman knows her players will need to be flawless if they’re to upset the odds.

“The bigger the game, the higher you can rise,” she said. “As elite players you hold on to that. In smaller games you don’t rise to your potential. In big games you do.

“This is the biggest challenge they have probably had. It’s also an opportunity to step up to the top level. That’s what we’re trying to get out of them, to be completely free in their game, to have teamwork that is clear to everybody so they can express themselves to their full potential on the pitch.”

Germany have already secured their place at the Euros, having scored 37 goals while conceding none in their six qualifying games to date.

With little at stake for the visitors, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg might be tempted to field a weakened team in Dublin next month. Either way, Pauw expects a formidable challenge.

She said: “It’s completely up to Martina what they’re going to do. We need to wait and see. That second Germany team is still world-class and will not give anything away. The task will be as big.” 

About the author:

Paul Dollery

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