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EVENING ALL, WELCOME to our live coverage of the crescendo of Ireland’s qualifying campaign for the Covid-delayed 2022 European Championships in England. 

Ireland remain in contention for the play-offs, but defeat in Ukraine leaves Vera Pauw’s side needing a minor miracle tonight.

Ireland are second as it stands, but they need to at least match Ukraine’s result against Montenegro in the group’s other game tonight. Ukraine, however, will probably beat minnows Montenegro, meaning Ireland will almost definitely need to win tonight’s game, a daunting prospect against a side whose record so far reads: Played 7, Won 7, Scored 43, Conceded Zero.  

Get in touch with us, comment below the line or email gavincooney@the42.ie.

Kick off at Tallaght stadium in 5pm, with some significant team news to follow…

Team News 

Vera Pauw has made a change in goal, with Grace Moloney brought in for her first competitive start at senior international level. Goalkeeper has been an issue for Ireland in this campaign, with Marie Hourihane and Courtney Brosnan both blemishing this campaign with individual errors.

Moloney, however, has been in good form for Reading in the WSL, and has twice made the Team of the Week this season. 

Meanwhile, Shelbourne ace Jamie Finn comes into midfield for her second cap and it looks like Ireland will line out in a 1-5-4-1 formation, or go 1-3-5-2 as the game develops. Defence will see Liverpool’s Niamh Fahey return to join reliable centre-half partnership Louise Quinn and Diane Caldwell.

Brighton & Hove Albion striker Rianna Jarrett will lead the line, as she has done of late, with US-based Heather Payne joining her in attack after an impressive showing in Kiev.

Ireland: Moloney; O’Gorman, Quinn, Caldwell, Fahey, McCabe; Littlejohn, Finn, O’Sullivan, Payne; Jarrett.

Subs: Brosnan, Reid-Burke, Keenan, Scott, O’Riordan, Walsh, Atkinson, Farrelly, Molloy, Ziu, Whelan, Barrett.

Vera Pauw ahead of kick-off: 

Whatever happens, we want to make the country proud. We want to have this momentum to promote the game for little girls, that they are proud of their heroes on the pitch. That they can feel anything is achievable. But we do know that Germany is Germany,” she notes, “ranked second in the world, best playing football team. We also know that we can do everything that we have in our capacities, but that doesn’t mean it is going our way. But we want to show that we give our all and that we can make the country proud in that, and that you feel the spirit and you feel the essence of these players, who are on the fringe of doing something special. If not now, we will do it in the next campaign.” 

Read Emma Duffy’s full game preview here. 

A reminder of how the group stands ahead of the final round of games. 

Ireland must match or better Ukraine’s result against Montenegro to qualify for the play-offs.

Screenshot 2020-12-01 at 16.52.37

The teams are making their way out to the pitch at Tallaght. 

Kick off is five minutes away, and the game’s live on RTE Two television if you want to watch. 

Peeeeeeeep! 

We’re underway at Tallaght Stadium as we go in search of arguably the greatest upset in the history of Irish international football. 

Ukraine/Montenegro is kicking off at the same time, so we’ll keep you up to date on that too. Maybe our friends in Montenegro will throw up their own Gary Mackay. 

1′ – Ireland 0-0 Germany

Ireland narrowed the pitch ahead of kick-off and the game is taking the shape you might expect: Louise Quinn blocks a Klara Buhl shot and then Aine O’Gorman does well to force a corner off the follow-up. 

The corner went short and, ultimately, nowhere. 

2′ – Ireland 0-0 Germany 

Ireland are playing with three centre-halves - Louise Quinn, Niamh Fahey and Diane Caldwell – with Heather Payne pushing on in support of Rianna Jarrett. 

Katie McCabe is at left wing-back and she breaks forward but her cross is too close to the German goalkeeper. 

4′ – Ireland 0-0 Germany

Germany force another corner off O’Gorman, with Fahy heading the set-piece away.

5′ – Ireland 0-0 Germany

Lina Magull finds far too much space in midfield ahead of the Irish defence, but skews a shot wide. 

7′ – Ireland 0-0 Germany

Ireland survive a German attack, with Littlejohn blocking a Dallmann effort in the six-yard box. The attack came from Buhl skipping around Aine O’Gorman on the German left, which has been the direction from which they’ve attacked so far. 

Blimey, some drama in the other game: Ukraine took a fourth-minute lead, but Montenegro equalised immediately after. 

Remember – Ireland need to match or better Ukraine’s result to qualify for the play-offs, so we are all Montenegro fans tonight. 

12′ – Ireland 0-0 Germany

Ireland are sitting deep, naturally, but they are leaving two players up front rather than just Rianna Jarrett, with Heather Payne in support too. 

13′ – Ireland 0-0 Germany 

Again the Germans attack down Ireland’s right, but Buhl’s ball across the penalty area is easily gathered by Moloney. 

14′ – Ireland 0-0 Germany 

So far so good for Ireland. They are sitting deep and compact, and have denied the Germans any space in behind so far. It’s a high wire act of concentration across 90 minutes, however. 

16′ – Ireland 0-0 Germany

Decisive goalkeeping by Moloney as she comes and claims a Hendrich cross from the right. That’s the kind of conviction that has been lacking in that position for Ireland in the group thus far. 

PENALTY! 

Oh dear. 

Germany win a penalty, with an emphasis on their winning it. Svenja Huth puts her leg across Katie McCabe and fall to the ground, and the referee points to the spot.

GOAL!

20′ – Ireland 0-1 Germany 

Lina Magull scores the spot kick! Moloney went the right way, but the penalty was too far in the corner. 

Now Ireland must score. 

23′ – Ireland 0-1 Germany

A bemused Katie McCabe was heard after the penalty decision saying ‘dive’ and she’s right. 

McCabe deliberately pulled out of the challenge, and Huth nonetheless kicked her standing leg as she threw herself to the ground. 

Exasperating. 

Okay, there’s a bias in us saying it: but there may not be a more luckless football story in 2020 than Irish international football. 

25′ – Ireland 0-1 Germany

Superb goalkeeping by Moloney, as she sprints out of her box to nick the ball away ahead of Tabea Waßmuth. She had to get that inch-perfect, and did. 

28′ – Ireland 0-2 Germany

Gah. Moloney makes a stunning point-blank save from Waßmuth, but Germany recycle the ball, and Waßmuth scores from just outside the area. 

There can be no sense of grievance over that one. 

30′ – Germany 0-2 Germany 

Moloney parries away a Lomann effort from the edge of the box, and this is beginning to look bleak for Ireland. 

As it stands, we are out, though would qualify for the play-offs if Montenegro can beat Ukraine. That game is still 1-1…C’mon Montenegro. 

33′ Ireland 0-2 Germany

Germany utterly dominant now. 

Instead, find refuge in your sense of grievance: here’s the award of the first-half penalty. Some would indeed call it cheating, including me. 

Here’s the second goal, scored by Tabea Wassmuth. It’s a good strike, though Ireland might have closed her down a bit more quickly. 

38′ – Ireland 0-2 Germany

Dallmann whips a ball across the box which McCabe controls and thwacks away. 

39′ - Ireland 0-2 Germany

Wassmuth misses a super chance for 3-0. Dallmann drives at the Irish defence, draws Fahy out of position and then pokes the ball through for Wassmuth, who miscues the chance from six yards and sends the ball a mile wide. 

42′ – Ireland 0-2 Germany

Moloney comes for a free-kick and misses it, with Fahy forced to sprint back and hack the ball clear before it trundled over the line. Germany’s dominance here is total. 

Penalty Ireland! 

Oh, hello.

Jarrett wins the ball off Hendrich, slides a superb ball through for Heather Payne, who pulls the back for Denise O’Sullivan, who is then hacked down by Hegering as she prepares to shoot. 

GOAL! 

44′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

Game. On. 

McCabe side-foots a perfect penalty in the top corner, a terrific spot-kick. 

HT: Ireland 1-2 Germany 

Well. 

Ireland are back in this game thanks to Katie McCabe’s penalty just before the break, which is the first Germany have conceded in the group so far. 

That McCabe goal should give Ireland some belief, and with Ukraine still being held by Montenegro, a draw is enough for Ireland to make the play-offs, as it stands. 

Given McCabe missed a penalty in the Ukraine game, this spot-kick is all the more impressive. 

We’re back underway for the second half! 

Change for Germany – Dzsenifer Marozsan is on for Linda Dallmann. Marozsan has won four Champions League titles with Lyon and, unfortunately for Ireland, is very good. 

47′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

Rianna Jarrett is booked for a challenge on Lena Oberdorf.

50′ Ireland 1-2 Germany

Marozsan sends a shot whistling just over the crossbar, after Quinn and Moloney got muddled beneath a cross. 

It is still 1-1 between Ukraine and Montenegro, but this is an update leavened with some bad news for Ireland: Aleksandra Popovic has been sent off for Montengro, so they’ll play virtually the whole second half with 10 players. Eep. 

52′ Ireland 1-2 Germany

Marozsan forces a corner off Jamie Finn, which is thumped clear by Aine O’Gorman.

55′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

Wassmuth smacks an effort from distance off the crossbar! Moloney stood and looked at it in hope. That’s a let-off for Ireland. 

Amber Barrett, meanwhile, has come on for Rianna Jarrett.

56′ Ireland 1-2 Germany

Barrett forces a corner…

57′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

…McCabe stood it to the back post for Louise Quinn, but Germany deal with the danger.

59′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany 

Katie McCabe came off second-best in a challenge and she’s limping pretty gingerly. Hopefully she can shake it off.

Germany making a change – Hendrich off for Pia-Sophie Wolter, on for her international debut. 

63′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

Ireland break clear, but McCabe skews a shot wide after good build-up involving O’Sullivan and Littlejohn. Ireland are hanging on in there…

66′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

Magull’s shot from distance takes a deflection off Quinn and Moloney does well to gather.

68′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

Okay, as things stand – Ireland need to draw this game to get into the play-offs. 

They must match Ukraine’s result, who are currently drawing 1-1 with Montenegro. 

70′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

Buhl gets a yellow card for a foul just over the halfway line, and Ireland have a chance to get the ball in the box. 

71′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

Germany deal with the set-piece, and the attack fizzles out. 

74′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

Leupolz’ cross is blocked by McCabe for a corner. 

Double switch for Germany – Lena Lattwein and Lea Schuller on for Klara Buhl and Lina Magull. 

75′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

Payne is pinged for supposedly fouling Lattwein on the edge of her own box. Ireland had Barrett and O’Sullivan pushed up in support too: they need to find a goal in these final 15 minutes. 

Denise O’Sullivan, meanwhile, has been booked. 

76′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

Corner for Ireland. Katie McCabe takes, and it’s met by Louise Quinn and deflected behind for another corner.

77′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany 

Germany half-clear the corner, Denise O’Sullivan recycles the ball to Payne on the edge of the box, but shew horribly skews her shot high and into the empty stand. 

79′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

Nightmare for Ireland – Ukraine go 2-1 up against Montenegro. 

If that result stays as is, Ireland will need to win this game to make the play-offs. 

Change for Ireland – 16-year-old Ellen Molloy comes on for Jamie Finn.

80′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

Ireland have 10 minutes to find two goals against a side that has conceded once across the whole campaign. 

Louise Quinn, meanwhile, appears to have gone up front. 

82′ – Ireland 1-2 Germany

O’Sullivan almost threads a gorgeous pass through for Barrett, but Germany intercept. 

Ireland are going for this now. 

 

GOAL 85′ – Ireland 1-3 Germany

That’s that. The outstanding Wassmuth jinks inside on her left and fires into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. 

Ireland need three goals now. 

86′ – Ireland 1-3 Germany 

Denise O’Sullivan sees a shot deflected over the bar, but Germany clear the corner, and we’re in the embers of another unsuccessful Irish campaign now. 

87′ – Ireland 1-3 Germany

Ireland gamely block a series of German shots in the penalty area, first from Wassmuth and then Marozsan. 

Three minutes added time. 

90+1′ – Ireland 1-3 Germany

Quinn wins a header in the German box, but Germany win the second ball and break with Schuller, but Ireland scramble back and clear the danger. 

90+2′ – Ireland 1-3 Germany

Schuller breaks again for Germany and rolls a shot narrowly wide of the far post. 

FT: Ireland 1-3 Germany

Ireland’ campaign ends in failure, as they miss out on a play-off for Euro 2022. Tonight’s was an admirable performance in which they battled well and scored the only goal Germany conceded across the whole group, but in truth this campaign was spurned in games away to Greece and Ukraine. 

They finish third in the group, and shift focus to preparation for World Cup qualifiers, though that’s a long way from here. 

Thanks for following, stay tuned for a report and reaction from Tallaght. Bye! 

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Gavin Cooney

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