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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019


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Good evening, and welcome to The42′s live coverage of Ireland’s must-win World Cup qualifier against Norway.

Emma Duffy here to keep you up to date with the action from the Viking Stadion in Stavanger, where kick-off is at 5pm Irish time (live on RTÉ 2).

Stick with us for the build-up and updates throughout the evening, and as always, feel free to voice your thoughts in the comments section below.

Here’s the Ireland team:

Claire O’Riordan makes a first competitive start, coming in for the suspended Diana Caldwell, while Megan Connolly starts in place of Niamh Fahey. Elsewhere, Áine O’Gorman hits cap number 100.

And Norway:

Lisa-Marie Utland, their goal-scoring hero from Friday night starts up top once again.

The Girls in Green suffered a 2-0 defeat against Group 3′s top seeds in Tallaght on Friday — Utland hit the brace — and so have been left with a mountain to climb to qualify for a first-ever major tournament.

All is not lost though, but Colin Bell’s side need to win this evening to retain any realistic ambitions of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup in France.

They can no longer do so directly in first place, but there’s still hope through the play-offs if they finish as one of the four best runners-up.

The most important thing as of now though is a win tonight.

1 min – We’re underway, and it’s the hosts who kick things off.

3 mins — Norway with the lion’s share of early possession from kick-off but Ireland are settling in nicely. They had a decent break after captain Katie McCabe won O’Gorman’s ball but Norway kept all danger at bay.

5 mins — Slight scare there as Hourihan’s kick-out landed to Herlovsen. O’Riordan was caught off guard but after a scramble it goes out for a corner and results in nothing. Ireland elsewhere are coming into this more, Kiernan looking threatening.

8 mins — Colin Bell’s side are under pressure here. It’s corner after corner with Norway putting them under the pump.

12 mins — Fractured nose and all, Louise Quinn is leading the charge from the back. Another very nervy moment there as Hourihan fumbles the ball in the area, when it really should have been a clean catch — although fouled, but Ireland can draw a breadth of relief.

17 mins – Norway are piling on the pressure here as a goal looks imminent. Hourihan pulls off a nice save to lift momentum.

19 mins – Ireland had their longest string of possession in quite some time, with Megan Connolly playing Leanne Kiernan up the line. The Cavan star had quite a lot of work to do, and did well but her cross is kept out and they’re chasing once again.

21 mins – McCabe and Kiernan are linking up nicely up top when they get the opportunities. The Arsenal winger almost had Kiernan in one-on-one but there was just too much weight on the pass.

PENALTY for Norway: O’Riordan is adjudged to have taken Hansen down in the area and she’s shown a yellow.

Norway 1 Ireland 0 (24 mins): Caroline Graham Hansen cooly slots home.

29 mins — Mix-up in the Norwegian defence, and Kiernan spots it. She intercepts and has a go, but her effort is a tame one.

32 mins — Norway are still piling the pressure on but the Ireland defence are holding firm after conceding the penalty. The breaks are there. Denise O’Sullivan, as per, is doing well around the middle as she looks to create something.

34 mins — Megan Connolly went down in the box but any shouts for a penalty to Ireland are waved away by the referee. Here’s what happened at the other end 10 minutes ago.

39 mins — There have been quite a few escapes and it could be said that Ireland are lucky to only be 1-0 down, but Louise Quinn has been brilliant at the back.

41 mins — Hourihan is under fierce pressure between the posts — she dives over Engen’s effort but thankfully Quinn is on the line to clear. Utland is shown a yellow card after tangling with the Ireland keeper shortly after.

43 mins — This is better from Ireland as they get a bit of link-up play going and look more promising on the attack. Kiernan’s strong running with the ball is causing problems while Connolly has a go on the volley but it’s just off target.

44 mins – Two corners in quick succession from Katie McCabe, the second lands on O’Riordan’s head but it splashes wide. This is better, one minute added time.

So what do we think after that half of football?

45 mins – The second half is underway.

47 mins – Ireland have started the second period brightly, just like they finished the first. O’Sullivan is straight into the thick of the action, and Connolly cheekily wins a corner. Official attendance is 3,609.

49 mins – Norway are looking a little less composed than they were earlier. They clear the corner, but not convincingly and they’ve made one or two unforced errors in the moments after. Bell’s side will draw confidence from their start.

51 mins — The top seeds have found their feet again and had a few efforts. The pick of them was an overhead kick from Herlovsen but Quinn clears it.

54 mins – Herlovsen has another go as the sun beams down on the pitch but Hourihan does well and deals with the shot calmly. Ireland, as a unit, are looking composed too, playing the ball around on the deck as they keep patience for the right moment.

57 mins — A dangerous cross is played in but Hourihan does superbly to keep the ball away from Herlovsen. That really could have been 2-0 Norway.

61 mins — Not far off! The ball lands to Denise O’Sullivan on the edge of the box but her effort sails just over. Ireland are pushing for that coveted equaliser. Thorsnes is on for Utland, the player who hit a brace in Tallaght on Friday makes way.

65 mins – More fresh legs on for Norway as they look to stretch their lead. They’re happy to keep possession and watch the clock go down as Ireland chase anything that comes their way. You really can’t fault Colin Bell’s side’s work-rate and hunger.

70 mins – Norway are still putting immense pressure on Ireland but so farm so good in this half — they’ve dealt quite well with it. That said, the Girls in Green need a goal… and fast.

73 mins – Leanne Kiernan has covered some amount of ground on her own up front, she’s put in a serious shift. Ireland are starting to look tired, it might be time for Bell to bring on fresh legs and spice things up a bit. Let the defensive shackles off and go for it as the game has gone a bit flat.

77 mins – Ireland aren’t giving up. Sophie Perry does well to win a corner. Could there be something in this?

78 mins – McCabe’s delivery is a good one but Norway keep it out. Duggan regains possession and tries to play Kiernan in but there’s just too much on the ball. Small, small margins at this rate.

81 mins – Another great save from Hourihan as she keeps Wold’s powerful low shot out. Bell makes a double change — Amber Barrett for Megan Connolly and Rianna Jarrett for Leanne Kiernan. All out attack, let’s go.

85 mins – Dangerous shot from the left boot of Reiten but it’s just off target. Norway then could have had a second penalty but some last-ditch efforts from Hourihan keeps the score 1-0. Herlovsen really should have done better in that one-on-one.

88 mins – Ireland are still fighting. Nothing comes off McCabe’s corner though and it looks like Norway will just see this one out 1-0. Isibeal Atkinson comes in for Aine O’Gorman.

90 mins – The ref has added on three minutes as Ireland battle on. Interestingly, Atkinson was shown a yellow card for coming in too soon.

90+2 mins — Skinnes for Hansen to finish off the match for Norway. Time for one last big push for Ireland.

90+3 mins –  And that chance does come! Quinn’s long ball in finds McCabe who spins in the box and shoots but Hjelmseth saves her effort on the stroke of 93 minutes. And it looks like that’s that.

About the author:

Emma Duffy


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