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Ireland boss set to sign contract extension after flying start and Euros delay

Vera Pauw is focused on the Girls in Green qualifying for Euro 2021, which has been rescheduled for 2022.

IRELAND WOMEN’S NATIONAL Team [WNT] manager Vera Pauw says a contract extension “will be arranged” in due course after the rescheduling of Euro 2021 for 2022.

The42 reported earlier this month that the Dutchwoman will remain at the helm and it’s business as usual despite the enforced changes to the women’s international football calendar.

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

It’s now understood that talks are underway with the Football Association of Ireland [FAI] and the situation should be finalised once staff can return to HQ.

Pauw took the reins for the remainder of the Euros campaign last October, succeeding Colin Bell at the helm. The Girls In Green are now currently of Group I in Euro 2021 qualification as they look to reach a first-ever major tournament – although they have played a game more than top seeds Germany.

The 57-year-old, who formerly managed her native Netherlands and Scotland, answered questions from the media — asked by an FAI staff member — on a video call this morning. Pauw stressed that the situation surrounding her fresh deal is not a distraction.

I’m probably very pragmatic in that it’s just something that needs to be arranged,” she said. “I’ve got no worries at all. No, it doesn’t distract me at all. It’s not even in my mind, it will be arranged.”

The Euro finals had been arranged for England next summer, but were rescheduled to 2022 amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and other sporting postponements, mainly Euro 2020 to 2021.

After two wins over Montenegro, a victory over Ukraine and four points earned against Greece, Ireland had been due to play Germany on 11 April before travelling to Ukraine on 5 June and then hosting the top guns in September.

Uefa is yet to shed light on the rescheduling of fixtures after everything up until July was postponed, though Pauw says very little changes for her and her squad.

“It’s just that everything is moved forward. We will get a congestion of games later on because the World Cup qualifying matches will start while preparing for a tournament, if we qualify.

Our focus is first on getting the qualification done, getting the games planned because that is not done yet, play those games and make sure that we qualify for 2022 now. Then the World Cup qualifiers will start in preparation for the tournament.

“We just take it the way is. If things are changing again, then we adapt again. That’s the way it is: I don’t see it as a problem. I just see it as the circumstances.”

While Ireland had impressed with back-to-back wins over Greece and Montenegro before football’s worldwide shutdown, and had built up plenty of momentum before facing the Germans, that doesn’t concern Pauw now.

“I look at all the positive feedback that we get from the people in Ireland,” she continued.

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Screenshot 2020-04-27 at 14.18.04 Pauw appeared on a video call this morning. Source: FAI.

“I think when that game [Germany, scheduled currently for 22 September though now uncertain to prevail] comes, the stadium will be packed because everybody wants to support us in these difficult times.

“I truly have no doubt that the Irish people will come out and support us and will maybe even be more fanatic to be there for us.

The home games are so important. We get such a huge boost form the atmosphere in Tallaght Stadium. Whether the games will be played there, it’s not decided yet. The vibe that you get and the true support from the crowd, it pulls us over difficult moments, it’s really something very, very special.

With three massive qualifiers coming down the tracks, playing them behind closed doors is a possibility. Ireland played their last game against Montenegro without a crowd present, so Pauw is prepared to do the same again if that’s what it takes.

“We would deal with those circumstances,” she said. “It would be a shame, of course, because it [the crowd] gives this extra vibe but we’ll play the games like that.”

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Emma Duffy

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