2023 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER FINAL
Scotland v Republic of Ireland, Hampden Park, Tuesday, 8pm.
Live coverage on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player from 7.45pm.
Live commentary on RTÉ2fm, with coverage from Game On from 6pm.
Live streaming on RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app. Match updates and pictures on RTÉ Soccer Twitter and RTÉ Sport Facebook.
A cloudy but dry evening in anticipation for Glasgow on Tuesday. A fairly balmy night is in store with temps or 12c with gentle breezes. A good evening for a game of football.
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FATE AND CALCULATORS APPLY ALONGSIDE VERA PAUW
Arguably the biggest night in Irish women’s team history awaits. Everything the Irish manager has achieved since taking charge of the team in 2019 has built so far.
A victory against Scotland in Hampden could secure their place at the World Cup. Of course, when it comes to Ireland, things are never so simple or straightforward.
Ireland currently know that a win is essential, but they are unsure what victory will bring – they should at least know that the kick-off will be given.
There are two more qualifying play-offs which kick off at 6pm with Portugal hosting Iceland and Switzerland hosting Wales.
There are two automatic World Cup berths between the winners of the three play-offs, with the third team going to a ten-team inter-confederation tournament in New Zealand in February.
The two top-ranked teams that win their play-offs will automatically advance to the World Cup and Ireland currently sit in third place with Switzerland and Iceland above them. Simply put, Ireland have to beat the Scots and hope Iceland or the Swiss are defeated.
But even then, there is a caveat. Given the nature of the standings, with Switzerland at 19 points, Iceland at 18 and Ireland at 17, things are still subject to change. A win in the play-off in normal time or extra time is worth three points and a penalty shootout win is worth one point, so Ireland could still overtake either of the other two teams with a win and their rivals would be caught. in shots on goal.
All of this is of course moot if Ireland do not beat Scotland.
INJURY PROBLEMS CONTINUE FOR IRELAND
Ireland already had significant injury problems when the squad was initially announced.
Leanne Kiernan, Megan Connolly, Ruesha Littlejohn, Ellen Molloy, Aoife Colvill and Savannah McCarthy were all out through injury when Pauw’s squad was named.
The Ireland manager has received another blow with the news that midfielder Jess Ziu suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in West Ham’s League Cup game against London City Lionesses on October 2.
A scan revealed that Zui had suffered a ruptured ACL and needed to see a specialist who should provide a clearer picture of the damage caused and the recovery timeline.
Ziu’s absence will be keenly felt, along with that of Kiernan, Connolly and Littejohn, and Pauw will have to mix up his game again.
Despite the injuries, the Ireland coach remains confident her side are strong enough to go to Glasgow and get the result they need.
“We believe in ourselves and we trust each other – players and staff – but we know we have to be at our best if we want to win this game,” she said.
“Qualifying for the World Cup has always been the dream. The target when we started this campaign was to qualify for the World Cup and we remain in a position to achieve that.
“We expected Sweden to be top of our group so we knew going through the play-offs was a possibility and therefore not intimidating for us. It’s another big challenge and we have to play the game of our lives to win it. .
“We have total respect for Scotland, who are a very straightforward side with a lot of great players and they fully deserved to beat Austria in the first round of this play-off series.
“We have watched them closely and know that we will be up against a very tough opponent, who will also have a home crowd behind them.”
SEASONED SCOTTISH WANTED TO END THE IRISH DREAM
This is Scotland’s second high-pressure match in five days.
Unlike Ireland, who automatically qualified for the play-off final, Scotland had to face Austria in the semi-finals at Hampden Park on Friday.
A record crowd of 10,182 were on hand to watch substitute Abi Harrison set up a World Cup decider against Ireland with an extra-time winner against Austria.
Bristol City striker Harrison headed Erin Cuthbert’s corner from six yards out in the 92nd minute of the first round of the play-off at Hampden and Scotland held on for a 1-0 win to secure their place in the final against Ireland.
Another record crowd is expected in Hampden for the clash with Pauw’s side as the Scots seek to secure their place at a second consecutive World Cup, having qualified in 2019.
Spain coach Pedro Martinez Losa has a clean bill of health following the win over Austria and despite the tight turnaround, expects his side to be at their best.
“We are in the best place we could be,” he said. “We really believe in what we’re doing. It’s an opportunity potentially every four years.
“We are just preparing for a final. We have prepared for a final and how we are preparing for another final.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to be involved and play in a World Cup and inspire a generation of players and improve the game.
“The result of the last game gave us the faith, the energy and the motivation that we already had, but more conviction and so we are ready to go. Every individual is competing for a position.”
Watch Scotland v Republic of Ireland live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player on Tuesday from 7pm, follow a live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app and listen to live radio commentary on RTÉ’s Game On 2fm.
Listen to the RTÉ Soccer Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
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