Ireland’s Rianna Jarrett with Germany’s Lina Magull. Tim Groothuis/INPHO
brave but beaten

Heavyweights Germany shine but Ireland's Euro dream lives on despite defeat

The Girls In Green were beaten 3-0 in Essen.

Germany 3
Ireland 0

IT WAS ALWAYS going to go one way, but despite a 3-0 defeat to European heavyweights Germany, the dream continues to Vera Pauw’s Ireland.

Today’s loss in Essen means the Girls In Green are knocked off top spot in Group I, but the quest to reach a first-ever major tournament in the 2022 European Championships certainly lives on.

The might of Germany was evident from the start — the world’s second-ranked side have now scored 34 goals in this campaign, and conceded zero — but 32nd-ranked Ireland can take many positives from this one.

A clean sheet in the second half was certainly one, after goals from Marina Hegering, Dzsenifer Marozsán and Lea Schüller in the first period. The first was a poor one to concede eight minutes in, but the second an absolute beauty that couldn’t be stopped.

It opened the crucial three-and-a-half minute spell as half-time approached which really showed the gulf in class, in which Germany sent out a statement of intent with two quickfire goals.

To Ireland’s credit, they produced a much better showing in the second half: keeping the score down was paramount as they face into their real crunch qualifier against Ukraine next month.

Once Ireland avoid defeat in the decisive showdown in Kiev on 23 October, they will be guaranteed a second-place finish in Group I. That’s the target now, with top spot and the best three runners-up across the nine groups earning direct qualification for the Covid-enforced-delayed finals in England. The remaining runners-up progress to play-offs.

After the Ukraine clash, Ireland conclude the group stages by hosting Germany on 1 December.

While Ireland showed glimpses of promise and created few chances this afternoon — mainly through returning West Ham star Leanne Kiernan and from the heads of defenders Louise Quinn and Diane Caldwell – Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s hosts certainly dominated from start to finish. 

giulia-gwinn-with-katie-mccabe Germany’s Giulia Gwinn with Katie McCabe. Tim Groothuis / INPHO Tim Groothuis / INPHO / INPHO

A mammoth defensive effort was required to contain the Lina Magull and Alexandra Popp-inspired outfit, with Peamount United veteran Áine O’Gorman and Brighton’s Megan Connolly two to really shine in that department. Marie Hourihan, back between the posts, had a mixed afternoon, but the immense pressure she was under was difficult to deal with at times.

At stages in the first half, Ireland were lucky not to be trailing by more, but they certainly turned things around in the second period, with the likes of creative midfielders Ruesha Littlejohn, Katie McCabe and Denise O’Sullivan, along with lone striker Rianna Jarrett, stepping up when they got the chance.

While more composed in possession when they got it, creating chances was a difficult ask with Germany as strong at the back as they were going forward, with Bayern Munich ace Lea Schüller and Wolfburg’s Svenja Huth running riot before goal.

3-0 was certainly a good result for Ireland, especially when you consider the fact that Germany beat beaten Ukraine 8-0 twice, Montenegro 10-0 and Greece 5-0 away. (Ireland beat Ukraine 3-2, Montenegro 2-0 and 3-0 and Greece 1-0, on top of a 1-1 draw in Athens.)

With goal difference potentially now hugely important, Pauw’s side will take the positives forward as they look to seal second place — and continue the Euro dream. 

Screenshot 2020-09-19 at 15.49.53 Uefa. Uefa.

GERMANY: Frohms; Hendrich, Hegering, Oberdorf, Gwinn (Maier, inj, 35); Magull, Marozsan (Lohmann, 80), Leupolz (Däbritz, 63); Huth, Popp, Schüller

IRELAND: Hourihan; Caldwell, Quinn, Fahey, O’Gorman; Connolly, Littlejohn, O’Sullivan; McCabe, Jarrett, Kiernan (Payne, 63)

Referee: Monika Mularczyk (Poland).

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