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Ireland pick up first points of World Cup Qualifying campaign with win over Finland

The Republic of Ireland have picked up their first three points of their World Cup qualifying cam...

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

18:29 26 Oct 2021



Ireland pick up first points o...
Soccer

Ireland pick up first points of World Cup Qualifying campaign with win over Finland

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

18:29 26 Oct 2021

The Republic of Ireland have picked up their first three points of their World Cup qualifying campaign. 

They've beaten Finland 2-1 in Group A in Helsinki.

Finland initially started well and had the first chance of the game with a corner in the second minute.

The effort though was palmed away by Ireland goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan, who put in a really impressive, confident performance, before Sällström’s shot from the edge of the area went over.

Then Ireland enjoyed a period of sustained pressure in front of the Finland goal, including a nice Katie McCabe corner, before making the breakthrough and scoring after nine minutes.

Megan Connolly took a free-kick from the edge of the box and her curled effort hit the underside of the bar before coming off the Finland goalkeeper to go into the back of the net and give Ireland the lead.

Finland then started to come into the game more and more after the Irish goal but Ireland were impressive at closing them down and stopping their attack.

There was a nervy moment as Savanah McCarthy was beaten in the air in the 32nd minute by Kuikka as Finland took a corner, luckily though, her effort went over.

There were worrying scenes too in the 37th minute as arguably Ireland's most important player, Denise O'Sullivan, went down with a knock.

Thankfully the Cork native, who had been displaying just how impressive she is in the middle of the pitch both in terms of playing a defensive role but also working the ball forward, shook it off and carried on.

Finland then had two good chances approaching half-time when Sällström found herself through on goal but was judged to be offside.

Brosnan then made a mistake just moments later.

She misjudged the situation and came way too far off her line and was unable to clear the ball when she was left stranded.

Luckily for the visitors, the hosts didn't make the most of the opportunity as Ireland players got back and the chance was wasted.

Ireland led 1-0 at half-time with the break coming at the right time for Vera Pauw's side who were not appearing measured or controlled enough.

There were no changes to either side at half-time and Ireland looked similar from the restart.

Then just five minutes into the second half, Finland equalised.

Ireland captain Katie McCabe had left the field of play to receive treatment when an unmarked Engman got on the end of a cross to slot home a really nice goal.

It had been coming really for some time with Finland looking more impressive on the ball in terms of passing and their control.

Ireland however replied brilliantly in the 56th minute.

Heather Payne worked the ball towards the byline while under pressure before sending a cross into the box that Denise O'Sullivan headed home from close range.

Ireland led 2-1 but didn't seem satisfied as they hunted down another goal.

Katie McCabe had a chance just after the hour mark but her low effort was saved by Korpela.

The Tallaght native then found herself in loads of space five minutes later but sent the ball wide.

Pauw then made her first change of the evening when Rianna Jarrett came on for Lucy Quinn.

The last 15 minutes of the game were nervy as Finland made attack after attack looking for an equaliser but Ireland's backline held on well to deny them.

The win sees Pauw's side register their first points of this qualification campaign.

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FIFA World Cup Qualifier Republic Of Ireland Vera Pauw

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