Now only Georgia on her mind as Pauw calls next Tuesday's qualifier a must win

Thu, Nov 25 2021
Vera Pauw watching her team during the 1-1 draw with Slovakia

Vera Pauw watching her team during the 1-1 draw with Slovakia Credit: Brian F Smyth (ETPhotos)

Macdara Ferris reports from Tallaght Stadium

There was disappointment for the Ireland after they played out a 1-1 draw with Slovakia on Tuesday in Tallaght. Vera Pauw’s side had been targeting two wins from their November home double header and their manager now admits next Tuesday’s game against Georgia is a game when they must pick up three points if they are to push for World Cup qualification.

“Georgia is a must win – simple,” said Pauw speaking pitchside after the game. “We have to do better on Tuesday, we will do better on Tuesday, and it is a must win game. 

“Of course we are disappointed (with the draw), we came for more. But on the other hand, if you’ve seen the game, we could have lost. 

“Somehow we couldn’t get a grip on the game because they were so aggressive, in winning the ball, they were direct immediately going forward and we found it difficult to get our structure in and to get calmness in the game.”

The Irish side had the better of a lucklustre first half and then conceded early in the second half but Pauw was happy with her sides improved performance in the second period.

“In the first half, they did not create much but we couldn’t get forward in numbers. We brought in some clips at halftime and it was better in the second half, although running out in the first minute they (Slovakia) got the chance to score. 

“We were good in our defending but not in our passing. We tried to get Ruesha Littlejohn in there and I think that worked really well, she had a great impact in the game immediately when she came on.”

By then Ireland had equalised through skipper Katie McCabe and Pauw couldn’t fault her team’s effort in the quest to try and find a winner even if they came up just short.

“Everyone was trying everything they could. You need to have the guts to get there. We tried everything and later on there were players who really threw themselves in front of everything. Overall everyone has poured their hearts out.” 

Pauw won’t be able to call upon Heather Payne for  Tuesday qualifier as the striker iss returning to America due to college commitments with Florida State University. 

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