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'It's time that we scored, that we win... We're getting closer' - Ireland boss Pauw

The women’s national team lost out to Belgium this weekend but are showing plenty of promise.

Image: Patrick Smets/INPHO

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND manager Vera Pauw says her side are “getting closer” to scoring more goals after another encouraging display against a higher-ranked outfit.

Ireland suffered a 1-0 defeat to Belgium in a friendly on Sunday, their second consecutive loss by that margin after falling short against Denmark on Thursday.

Despite failing to register a goal in either game, Ireland showed plenty of promise against teams that are ranked 17th and 14th respectively in the world. Ireland, by comparison, are in 32nd place on the world rankings.

In addition to some impressive individual displays across both games, Ireland engineered several goal-scoring opportunities. Against Belgium, Katie McCabe had a penalty appeal which was denied, while Ruesha Littlejohn was unlucky to see her powerful free-kick saved by goakeeper Justien Odeurs.

Ireland are just missing the final product, but Pauw is confident that with the World Cup qualifiers coming up in September, they’re getting closer to ending the drought.

“It’s time that we scored, that we win, that we don’t get a bad call against [us],” the Ireland boss told the FAI after their clash with Belgium.

“It’s such a shame. I said to them, ‘We’re getting closer and closer and closer. If you see the players that haven’t played yet out on the pitch, then you can see that everyone is so concentrated and they really learn by playing the opposition.

“They’re really ready to do it. It’s just such a shame that they’re not getting rewarded. I think we played better than the last time. Apart from the first five, 10 minutes, we started really well. But then we gave it away and we were running after them.

“Then we picked up again and in the second half, we pressed them even better than Denmark and we should have scored three goals.

“So we’re so close but it’s a very difficult part to step up. We’re going to discuss everything, evaluate, individual programs, having good contact with all the clubs and see where we can get this little edge further.

“If we start to score, then we’re there.”

She added:

“We need to score. The rest will develop if we start to score. And we can have more composure and we can have more moments where we get the ball through, but that’s the same for the opponent. That will grow when we start to score, I’m absolutely sure.”

Pauw offered plenty of game time to players across the squad in both games, with a number of emerging talents making great use of the opportunities afforded to them. 

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Alli Murphy made her senior international debut while Kyra Carusa earned her first start with the Irish team.

“I’m most of all proud of the players who were thrown into the depth, took their chance and did a really good job,” Pauw said about the Irish newcomers.

“And although we have only had a few moments, I’m so proud of all my staff and how hard everyone works to get those players to a higher level. And it shows that the programme we have is good.

“The facilities are great, the support we have is fantastic and with each other, we can put quality in.”

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