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Dublin: 11°C Sunday 18 April 2021

Pauw: 'They were streetwise. We have to learn from that because we've given it away ourselves'

Ireland boss says her side need to ‘be better’ and ‘learn to dominate a game’ after frustrating late draw.

Vera Pauw during today's game.
Vera Pauw during today's game.
Image: Greg Hellas/INPHO

IRELAND MANAGER VERA Pauw says her side “need to be better” going forward as they look to qualify for a first-ever major tournament after dropping points in Athens.

A late, late equaliser from Greece meant the crucial clash in the race for second place in Group I finished 1-1, and subsequently ended the Girls In Green’s perfect start to their Euro 2021 qualifying campaign after home wins over Montenegro and Ukraine.

Amber Barrett’s superb 12th-minute finish had Ireland in pole position, as they looked to end 2019 on a high and make it three wins from three.

Pauw’s side dominated for much of the clash in Athens — particularly in the first half and early in the second — but the hosts battled hard for a last-gasp equaliser to share the spoils. Super-sub Anastasia Spyridonidou fired home in the 93rd minute as Ireland were left to rue missed chances.

RTÉ’s Tony O’Donoghue spoke to the Dutch boss after her second game in charge, and noted that while she said it was a game Ireland couldn’t lose, it often feels like a defeat when you concede so late.

“Yeah, on the other hand we haven’t been in the game at all,” a bitterly-disappointed Pauw responded. “First half, a little bit, early second half, also, we could have scored but we didn’t.

“A bunch of street fighters made it so difficult for us that we couldn’t get our play. Without blaming anyone, you lose a lot of quality if you have so many injuries. 

I thought we had enough quality on the pitch still but we need to learn how to see the game away. That is by listening also very, very carefully when things are changing.

“In the end they played with five strikers so you have to react and you need to do it very, very sharp. Everybody has fought their butt off and done everything they could, but it needs to be better.”

She agreed that her side controlled the first half and had chances to put the game to bed, but added:

“The thing is they moved players up and they were just so sharp in tackles and they were streetwise. We have to learn from that because we’ve given it away ourselves.

“We need to learn to dominate a game.”

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irleand Source:

The result means Ireland stay second place in Group I, but it comes as a blow to their chances of picking up one of the automatic qualifying places available to the three best runners-up. The play-off route is the other option for England 2021 qualification.

Runaway leaders Germany have four wins from four with 31 goals scored and none conceded, so it looks like they have top spot wrapped up already. Ireland are next with seven points from three games, while Greece trail by three.

Montenegro and Ukraine are yet to get off the mark. Next up for Ireland is an interesting rematch with Greece in Dublin on 6 March 2020 before facing Montenegro away five days later.

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Emma Duffy

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