Ireland lose 1-0 to Australia in their opening match of the Women's World Cup
Australia 1-0 Republic of Ireland.
The Republic of Ireland suffered defeat in their opening game at the Fifa Women's World Cup, losing 1-0 to co-hosts Australia.
Steph Catley scored the only goal of the game, a penalty in the second half. Ireland held their own against their illustrious opponents.
Australia vs Ireland: First-half.
In a scrappy opening half, Australia were the better team without creating any clear-cut goalscoring chances. Ireland frustrated their opponents and Courtney Brosnan in goal was rarely troubled.
The Matildas were missing Sam Kerr, the Chelsea striker who has scored 60 times for the national team, but was forced to sit out the match with a calf injury.
Without their key player, Australia looked short on ideas. The Irish defensive line held strong and made several clearances and blocks to keep the Aussies at bay.
Pauw's team, however, found it difficult in possession during the first half, and couldn't get up the pitch enough to win enough set-pieces to put pressure on the home side at the sold-out Sydney venue.
Australia vs Ireland: Second half.
Australia took control of the game early in the second half. Marissa Sheva was punished for a push on Hayley Raso in the penalty area, and the referee rightly pointed to the spot.
Steph Catley stepped up and cooly dispatched the penalty kick into the top corner. The home celebrated exuberantly, but it was more out of relief than joy after a difficult, frustrating match.
Ireland, however, responded well to that setback and finished the match as the stronger team. The Girls in Green had a series of corners and piled the pressure on Australia, but couldn't find that elusive goal.
Ireland's next match at the tournament is against Canada, who are ranked seventh in the world, next Wednesday.
Ireland player ratings.
- Courtney Brosnan: 6
- Louise Quinn: 8
- Niamh Fahey: 7
- Megan Connolly: 7
- Heather Payne: 7
- Katie McCabe: 7
- Denise O'Sullivan:7
- Ruesha Littlejohn: 6
- Sinead Farrelly: 6
- Kyra Carusa: 6
- Marissa Sheva: 6
- Abbie Larkin: 6
- Lucy Quinn: 6
Isibeal Atkinson: N/A
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- “She’s quite blunt, straight to the point” – Stephanie Zambra speaks about working under Ireland manager Vera Pauw.