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FT: Germany 3-0 Ireland (Hegering ’8, Marozsán ’38, Schüller ’41)

And so, we go again.

To Essen, where Ireland get their European Championship qualifying campaign back up and running. Against the might of Germany.

Unbeaten and currently top of Group I, Vera Pauw’s side have enjoyed a really positive campaign so far, but they face their toughest test to date this afternoon.

European heavyweights Germany sit second in the group, with a game in hand. Four wins from four games, 31 goals scored and none conceded. The Girls In Green know they need the game of their lives, as their quest to reach a first-ever major tournament continues.

Kick-off is at 1pm Irish time, with live coverage on RTÉ 2. We’ll keep you up to date right here, though. 

vera-pauw Ireland manager Vera Pauw. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ireland have recorded four wins — two over group minnows Montenegro, a home victory over Greece and a big scalp over second seeds Ukraine. Their draw came as a last-gasp one against the Greeks in Athens.

Germany — ranked second in the world — have beaten Ukraine 8-0 twice, Montenegro 10-0 and Greece 5-0 away.

The Girls In Green are in a fantastic position now, and the qualification dream certainly lives on. They face the Germans twice now before Christmas, with a real crunch game against Ukraine lined up for next month.

Automatic qualification in the group’s top spot may be a step too far, but the play-off route is one Pauw is certainly targeting.


Here’s a look at Ireland’s last four meetings with Germany:

September 2014: Germany 2-0 Republic of Ireland
April 2014: Republic of Ireland 2-3 Germany
August 2006: Republic of Ireland 0-3 Germany
May 2006: Germany 1-0 Republic of Ireland

Here are the teams for this afternoon’s battle in Essen:


A few changes to the Ireland team. Marie Hourihan starts in goal, Diane Caldwell — who plays her club football in Germany — moves out to right-back, while Liverpool captain Niamh Fahey switches from her holding role to centre-back. Brighton’s Megan Connolly returns to the XI and slots in Fahey’s usual role, while Leanne Kiernan also starts.


Some really brilliant analysis in the RTÉ studios from former and current internationals, Karen Duggan and Chloe Mustaki.

Discipline and organisation being stressed over and over again, with positivity and hope evident as they allude to the famous 0-0 World Cup-qualifying draw with European champions the Netherlands in Nijmegen in 2017.

A really tall order awaits, but anything could happen.

The teams are on the pitch, the anthems are done and dusted and all formalities out of the way. It’s go time!

KICK-OFF - Rianna Jarrett gets us underway, with Ireland playing from left to right in the first half after everyone taking a knee for the Black Lives Matter movement.

2 mins - A busy enough start here in Essen. Ireland are certainly getting stuck in, Ruesha Littlejohn leading the charge around the middle and not giving the Germans a second on the ball. The hosts are lively, though thankfully not yet in a rhythm.

They were almost through on goal at one point, but Áine O’Gorman cut the ball out. Megan Connolly is also standing firm.

5 mins - Germany are playing the ball around more now and settling into the game nicely. They give Ireland their first real scare with a cross in towards the back post, but O’Gorman again gets a vital touch. Leanne Kiernan breaks up the pitch brilliantly to relieve some pressure, winning a corner in doing so.

7 mins - Nothing major comes off that corner, taken by Katie McCabe, with the Germans dealing with Diane Caldwell’s header. The Germans earn one of their own — their second of the afternoon — up the other end.

GOAL! Germany 1-0 Ireland (Hegering, 8)

As expected, the Germans strike first. A poor enough goal to concede, Hegering with a bullet of a header from the near post to meet the corner, beating Hourihan between the posts after taking Louise Quinn out of it.

11 mins - To Ireland’s credit, they’ve responded well. After earning a corner of their own at the other end, Quinn connects well with the ball but heads it over the bar. And a great delivery from Connolly. It shows what they can do, to be fair.

Huth and Schüller continue to do the German damage, how and ever, the latter with a shot from a difficult angle sweeping wide.

13 mins – Hourihan confidently catches a German free-kick from a dangerous position, which is what she needs after that early goal. The hosts are certainly threatening though, and enjoying their 1-0 lead.

17 mins - Ireland have certainly steadied the ship, that’s for sure, but they need to cut out some simple mistakes after working so hard to regain possession. Concentration, organisation and discipline is needed, and Quinn shows just that, dealing accordingly with an identical German corner to the one they scored their opening goal from.

22 mins - Ireland are stepping up, and closing off any gaps at the moment but the hosts continue to patiently poke the ball around. Popp cleverly wins their first corner from the left after a block from Caldwell, and moments after, they drill a poor shot wide.

Back-to-back corners from the right follow, but Ireland deal accordingly. A period of relentless pressure here.

26 mins – It’s difficult for Ireland here, they’re under serious pressure at the back and exerting a lot of energy in their defensive play. The latest scare around the goal comes after a mix-up between Connolly and Hourihan, but the keeper reacts well.

Littlejohn is going well around the middle, intercepting and showing her creativity when she can — like Kiernan, but it’s difficult considering the mammoth defensive effort needed.

28 mins - Has to be said, it’s a frustrating game for Rianna Jarrett, who is trying to feed off scraps up top on her own at the minute. The same goes for Leanne Kiernan, there’s nowhere for the ball to go when she gets the opportunity to break. Those energy-draining runs can only last so long.

31 mins – Germany’s Julia Gwinn is down injured and getting treatment, looks like she jarred her boot into the grass and went over on her ankle. Looks like she won’t continue, but no doubt, the Germans have a seriously strong bench.

33 mins - Bayern Munich star Gwinn is stretchered off, with Leonie Maier of Arsenal coming in to replace her. A straight swap, it appears.

giulia-gwinn-with-katie-mccabe Germany’s Giulia Gwinn - who has just gone off injured - facing Katie McCabe. Source: Tim Groothuis/INPHO

37 mins - As half-time nears, the goal is to surely keep the scoreline as it is at 1-0. No more goals — unless it’s an Irish one! Kiernan with another stunning run, but she can’t find Jarrett. Katie McCabe and Denise O’Sullivan are doing trojan work around the middle, it’s all about keeping it this way until the break.

GOAL! Germany 2-0 Ireland (Marozsán, 38)

Jesus, that was some strike. Really, really well worked and an incredible finish from Marozsán, not much Ireland could do about that.


GOAL! Germany 3-0 Ireland (Schüller, 41)

And just like that, it’s 3-0. A German onslaught just before half-time was not what we needed, they’re relentless. After just coming to terms with Marozsán’s stunning effort, Schuller adds salt to the wounds. Another poor goal to concede, Hourihan will be disappointed with that one.

45 mins – Four minutes of added time being played, and Ireland really need the half-time whistle. The pressure keeps on coming. O’Sullivan wins the ball back in a tight area, Jarrett gets a run on the break but O’Sullivan can’t just make it up and the ball goes to waste. 

45 mins + – We’re in the last few seconds of that added time. Hourihan pulls off a super save with her foot, denying the Germans of a fourth goal. Kiernan keeps working hard, and there goes the whistle.

A really tough half for Ireland there after immense, immense pressure from the European heavyweights. A huge defensive effort had Pauw’s side just 1-0 down for most of the half, but a three-and-a-half minute spell as the break approached saw the Germans send out a real statement of intent with two quick-fire goals. Important the heads don’t drop now.

SECOND-HALF: We’re underway again in Essen, the hosts restarting proceedings.

48 mins - Ireland have come out all guns blazing, at least. They’re getting stuck right in once again, Denise O’Sullivan with her terrier mentality working well around the middle.

There’s a serious let-off then, and Áine O’Gorman can breathe a sigh of relief. Captain Alexandra Popp gets in, and wades her way through oceans of space. One-on-one with Hourihan with loads of time, she has a go from the edge of the box and it goes well wide.

Really should have been 4-0.

52 mins - After that uncharacteristic miss, the Germans keep throwing the ball around, incredibly comfortable in possession.

For all the glimpses of brilliance Leanne Kiernan has shown, a heart-in-the-mouth moment ensues as she hits a lengthy pass back to Hourihan. There’s not enough power in it and the Ireland keeper does well in dealing with it, with Germany certainly ready to pounce once again.

55 mins - Jarrett is lone up top, and surely frustrated at this point but there’s little she can do. She, Kiernan and O’Sullivan are doing their best with what they have, but defensive play is much more important at the minute.

Popp has another pop, going for the spectacular this time with an overhead effort but it goes well wide again.

60 mins - As Germany continue to dominate, Ireland are showing their worth more and more. Jarrett finally gets some more service and creates an opportunity for a cross into the box, it’s all white German shirts in there and McCabe arrives late but it causes Frohms no real problems between the post.

Ireland enjoying a bit more of the ball now, and it looks like Heather Payne is going to come on.

62 mins - Payne comes in for Kiernan.

And Germany bring in Däbritz for Leupolz.

65 mins - Just over the hour-mark and Germany certainly haven’t let up for a second. Hourihan deals well with a free-kick and Caldwell is going well, too. Another corner for the hosts and Connolly stands firm off the back of it, drawing the foul and earning a free.

This half has been much better from Ireland, it must be said. 

67 mins - At the other end, a fantastic through ball from Littlejohn ultimately amounts to nothing with McCabe blown for offside. That said, the Girls In Green are showing what they can do and creating a bit more in the German half.

ruesha-littlejohn-and-dzsenifer-marozsan Ireland’s Ruesha Littlejohn with Germany’s Dzsenifer Marozsan. Source: Tim Groothuis/INPHO

70 mins - After some decent passages of Irish possession and some positive play, there’s serious pressure around Hourihan’s goal again but between her and Caldwell, they keep the ball out after Schuller’s threat.

At the other end, Littlejohn produces a brilliant challenge on Popp and Jarrett continues to work hard.

73 mins - Another heart-in-the-mouth moment there, but Hourihan gets a hand to Schuller’s latest, low effort. The Irish keeper is almost in slow motion diving, but she does just enough to save and knock the ball out for a corner. Again, Ireland deal with the set-piece threat but Hourihan is called to action soon after to gather a cross.

78 mins - Magull blazes Germany’s latest effort over the bar. She’s been involved in almost every bit of German play today, so is looking for a goal.

Another very, very nervy moment. Hourihan cuts out a German chance on the edge of the box – doing well initially – but her clearance pass lands straight to Huth. Ireland have enough time to desperately scuttle back to the line, and luckily, Huth lobs her effort over the bar.

83 mins – Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side are probing and probing here for a fourth goal, they won’t be happy they haven’t scored in the second half. But Ireland are working hard for one another as the clock runs down. Hourihan has dealt well with the latest Germany efforts as Ireland look to keep it 3-0 — or maybe even sneak one back.

86 mins – Pauw’s side are certainly still trying to play football, and do the right thing while in possession. Jarrett brilliantly holds the ball up, thriving in that situation as she’s most comfortable, and a nice team move comes off that. Eventually, Katie McCabe, on the right, tries a cross-field ball to find Payne at the back post, but it’s a tired pass — although they’re trying to make something happen at this late stage.

89 mins - The hosts keep chipping away as they look for a fourth, but the Ireland defence stands strong. Technically, Germany are so, so impressive and their fitness and energy is on another level.

Three minutes of additional time has just been announced.

91 mins - The German siege continues, more and more chances being created. Schuller is one of two German players to go up for a header in the box after a well-worked move, they collide but come out unscathed — and so do Ireland, as the ball floats wide.

92 mins – To their credit, Ireland keep trying and trying after a much more positive second-half performance. Seconds from the final whistle in Essen, now.

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About the author:

Emma Duffy


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