REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Ireland manager Vera Pauw and her squad will be confident of making home comforts count against Greece on Thursday evening (kick-off 19.15) at Tallaght Stadium with over 5,000 tickets already sold ahead of the Group I Euro 2021 qualifier.
Last October’s group fixture against Ukraine at the same venue saw a record 5,328 fans come through the gates and with this week’s ticket sales just a few hundred short of that mark on Monday of this week there is every possibility that a new record could be set on Thursday evening in Tallaght.
Pauw has once again stressed the importance and value that the Irish fans hold for the team and has called on them to make the effort to come out and support the girls in green as they look to maintain their unbeaten start to this campaign.
"We need the fans. I hope that everybody is coming because to get that support it pulls you through the difficult moments in the game.” said Pauw ahead of the game.
"It is fantastic that tickets are selling well but need the fans to turn up on the night - that is very important. We had a great crowd and atmosphere at the Ukraine game, so it would be special to experience that on a night when we need to beat Greece."
Ireland have had a very encouraging start to the current campaign and will look to keep the momentum going this week against Greece as they look to further enhance their bid for a top two finish.
Their last outing against the same opposition late last year in Athens ended in a 1-1 draw leaving Ireland occupying second place in the group, five points behind leaders Germany and three clear of Greece.
Striker Amber Barrett had given Pauw’s side a 1-0 lead but the sloppy concession of a late goal saw both sides leaving with a share of the spoils.
Wicklow born Áine O’Gorman has provided the Ireland camp with a timely return and is back in contention – reversing her decision to retire from September 2018.
The Peamount United player and Ireland centurion international cap holder is raring to go again and her experience could prove key with plenty of young talent expected to feature over the course of the evening.
In terms of team news, midfielders Megan Connolly (shoulder) and Jessica Ziu (groin) have been ruled out of the game, while English-born forward Nicole Douglas has been training with the squad as she awaits international clearance from FIFA.
Greece trail Ireland by just three points in the group having picked up four points from their first three games.
As well as a morale boosting 1-1 draw at home to the Girls in Green in their last qualifier back in November, they have also beaten Montenegro 4-0 and succumbed to a 5-0 defeat at home to Germany.
Midfielder Sidira is their top goal scorer so far scoring two goals in the qualifying campaign to date with northern Greek side PAOK providing seven players in the visitor’s match day squad.
Referee: María Dolores Martinez Madrona (ESP)
Ireland currently sit second in the group with a three point lead on tomorrow evening’s opposition
Diane Campbell is set to win her 75th senior international cap having made her debut in March 2006.
Aine O'Gorman will be looking to add to her 100 caps and 13 goals on her return to action with Ireland.
Ireland 3/10; Draw 4/1; Greece 9/2
Ireland 3-1 Greece