Vera Pauw breaks down in tears in emotional RTÉ interview after Ireland qualify for World Cup 1 month ago

Vera Pauw breaks down in tears in emotional RTÉ interview after Ireland qualify for World Cup

There was a lovely personal gift presented at the end of an emotional interview.

Vera Pauw could not hold back the tears after what has been a huge, emotional and uplifting 12 months.

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The Ireland boss has guided the women's team to their first ever World Cup, taken the fight to some other heavily favoured and financed sides, and dealt with the fall-out of a brave personal revelation, regarding sexual assaults committed against her. The Dutchwoman has carried herself remarkably well throughout the whole process and playoff victory at Hampden Park was rich reward.

"I can't believe it, I just can't believe," Pauw told RTÉ Sport's Tony O'Donoghue after her side's 1-0 victory. "With the last whistle, I thought, 'How is this possible?'

"Amber Barrett's first touch [before scoring her goal] made the game. Preparation is everything. The saved penalty of Courtney Brosnan's was not luck. We knew where it was coming. We trained for it, we trained for everything, we were ready for every scenario, we were so ready. The way they executed it was not beautiful, and we need to work a lot, but the game-plan was successful."

"It's not that we were the better team on the pitch," she added, "but we were the most effective team, and we just wanted it more."

Pauw noted how Ireland were missing a number of senior players, due to injury, but praised the dedication and focus of the ones she did have available.

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On Barrett, the matchwinner, Pauw commented, "Amber promised me, 'When I get on, I'll make that goal', that's what she said, and that first touch made it. It's incredible the way that she finished it.

"I don't know who is the player of the game, but to me it's Courtney [Brosnan]," she later added, "because she kept us in the game and she kept us organised with all those tigers who did it."

As the enormity of her side's achievement hit home, amid scenes of celebration at Hampden Park, Vera Pauw could not hold back the tears.

"I want to say thank you to everybody that supported me through these difficult times. My heart is all with this country and I wanted it so, so much for everybody, who not only supported me in an incredible way, but supported everybody. I'm so proud."

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At the end of the interview, Vera Pauw presented O'Donoghue with a signed Ireland jersey as a token of gratitude for the broadcaster following the team's journey so closely over the past campaigns.

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