2023 World Cup Qualifier Preview: Republic of Ireland -v- Georgia

Mon, Nov 29 2021
Katie McCabe celebrates her goal against Slovakia

Katie McCabe celebrates her goal against Slovakia Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

All the comments after last Thursday’s 1-1 home against Slovakia were all about how Tuesday’s game in Tallaght against Georgia is a must-win game for the Republic of Ireland (kick off 7pm).

The Girls in Green know if they can pick up the three points against Georgia then Ireland will move into second place in Group A of UEFA’s qualification process for the 2023 Women’s World cup.

"We are clear about it, this is a must-win game for us if we are to qualify for the World Cup,” said Ireland manager Vera Pauw on the eve of the game. “We have prepared well and we are ready for this game, but we know that we must take the three points.

"As we expected when the draw for Group A was made, there are no easy games. In fact, we believe this to be the most difficult group of all with both Slovakia and Georgia being a lot stronger than they are given credit for. And, of course, we have the top two seeds in Sweden and Finland.”

The Swedish side, on the back of winning bronze at the Olympics in Tokyo earlier this year, have won four from four and look set to earn the automatic spot by winning the group. Runners up spot will earn a team a route into a complicated play-off route from which two teams from nine will qualify – along with one other who will face into a inter-federation playoff.

There have been 4,000 tickets sold for Tuesday’s game and so the team will have a sizeable crowd of vocal support to cheer them on in Tallaght.

"It was fantastic to have over 5,000 fans for our game against Slovakia. The atmosphere that they create is just incredible and we hope that our fans will be there once again on Tuesday night cheering the team on."

Pauw has a full squad to choose from bar Heather Payne who has returned to Florida due to college commitments and Kyra Carusa looks set to start up front in her place. 

Republic of Ireland Squad
Goalkeepers: Courtney Brosnan (Everton), Grace Moloney (Reading), Megan Walsh (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Defenders: Louise Quinn (Birmingham City), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool), Diane Caldwell (North Carolina Courage), Jessie Stapleton (Shelbourne), Savannah McCarthy (Galway WFC), Éabha O'Mahony (Boston College), Áine O'Gorman (Peamount United), Isibeal Atkinson (Celtic)
Midfielders: Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Denise O'Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Megan Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ruesha Littlejohn (Aston Villa), Jamie Finn (Birmingham City), Niamh Farrelly (Glasgow City), Ciara Grant (Shelbourne), Aoibheann Clancy (Wexford Youths), Roma McLaughlin (Central Connecticut State University), Jess Ziu (Shelbourne)
Forwards: Amber Barrett (FC Koln), Kyra Carusa (HB Koge), Emily Whelan (Birmingham City), Saoirse Noonan (Shelbourne), Lucy Quinn (Birmingham City)

GEORGIA

The Georgian team come into the game bottom of Group A having lost all three of their games so far. 

They began qualification for the World Cup due to be hosted in Australia and New Zealand with a heavy 4-0 away defeat to Sweden. They lost next 3-0 at home to a Finnish side who Ireland beat 2-1 in Helsinki. 

Last month they lost 2-0 to Slovakia in the game played in Poprad.

They played a couple of friendlies at home to Azerbaijan last June in preparation for this World Cup campaign winning the first 3-2 before having to settle for scoreless draw. 

They lost all ten qualifiers they played for the 2022 Women’s Euros, scoring three goals and conceding 45. In the 2019 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, they entered in the preliminary round but didn’t advance out of their four team group into the qualifying round group stages – they finished third winning just the one game – a 2-1 win over Estonia. They drew 1-1 with Latvia and lost 1-0 to their preliminary group winners Kazakhastan. 

Georgia Squad
Goalkeepers:
 Teona Sukhashvili (WFC KVArtali), Tatia Gabunia (WFC Lanchkhuti), Eka Tabagari (WFC KHOBI)
Defenders: Nino Sutidze (WFC Kvartali), Tamari Tatuashvili (Amora), Ani Dzadzua (WFC Kvartali), Mariam Kalandadze (WFC Lanchkhuti), Nino Gurielidze (WFC Nike), Nino Chkhartishvili (WFC Lanchkhuti)
Midfielders: Mariami Janikashvili (Norchi Dinamo), Gvantsa Kadagishvili (WFC Kvartali), Nino Pasikashvili (WFC Kvartali), Teona Bakradze (WFC Lanchkhuti), Maiko Bebia (WFC Nike), Natia Danelia (WFC Kvartali), Anastasia Bolkvadze (WFC Kvartali), Irina Khaburzania (WFC Lanchkhuti), Teona Todadze (WFC Lanchkhuti), Ana Cheminava (WFC MFA Zalgiris), Lizi Mtskerashvili (WFC Lanchkhuti), Mariam Danelia (WFC Lanchkhuti)
Forwards: Lela Chichinadze (WFC Nike), Khatia Tchkonia (WFC Lanchkhuti), Natela Tsotseria (WFC Lanchkhuti)

Referee: Jurgita Macikunyte (Lithuania)

MATCH STATS

This is the first time the Republic of Ireland will take on Georgia in a senior women’s international.

It is a team of match officials from Lithuania who will take charge in Tallaght led by 37-year-old Jurgita Macikunyte who earned three senior international caps as goalkeeper for the Lithuanian national team. While she never played against Ireland, one of her international caps was officiated by Irish referee Hilda McDermott – a 1-1 home draw against Luxembourg in November 2006. 

Ireland played their 25th game in Tallaght Stadium last week with the result being only their second ever draw in the Dublin 24 venue. They have won 13 matches and lost 10.

PREDICTION

2-0 home win 

Republic of Ireland

Injured: None

Suspended: None

Georgia

Injured: n/a

Suspended: n/a

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