Bottom seeds Montenegro host Ireland behind closed this afternoon still awaiting their first win and also first points of the campaign (kick-off 3pm).
They currently sit bottom of Group I with zero points from their opening three games and a goal difference of -16.
In their opening game of the group they shipped ten goals to Germany before losing 2-0 in Dublin. Their third and most recent game saw them lose 4-0 away to Greece.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Only three points will do for Ireland manager Vera Pauw and her squad against Montenegro today as they look to continue their unbeaten start to Group I in Budva.
Thursday’s narrow 1-0 defeat of Greece in Tallaght Stadium further enhanced Ireland’s bid for a top two finish as their lead on third placed Greece now sits at six points ahead of this afternoon’s fixture.
A win today against bottom seeds Montenegro would see the Girls in Green elevate themselves to the dizzy heights of top spot in Group I, leading top seeds Germany by a solitary point ahead of the sides’ first group meeting on the 11th of April.
Ireland’s opening group game back in September against today’s opposition saw them record a comfortable 2-0 victory in Tallaght Stadium with Tyler Toland and Katie McCabe on the score sheet.
Speaking ahead of the game, manager Vera Pauw said that her team have this week been focussing on applying great pressure on Montenegro this afternoon to ensure they get the goals they need to win the game.
“We set ourselves the target of six points from two games in this series, so having beaten Greece last week we now know that our job is to beat Montenegro to complete that task,” she said.
“We know what to expect from Montenegro and we will need to apply a lot of pressure to break through and score the goals that we need to win the game. So that is what we have been preparing for.
“We haven’t had that much time together to work as a team with only a few days training before the Greece game, but I’ve told the players that the more time we have together then the better we will become in possession and in finishing chances in front of goal.
“And that, ultimately, is what we need to do in order to take the three points. We have prepared well for this game and we are looking forward to it.”
Stephanie Roche linked up with the squad following the withdrawal of Chloe Mustaki, while Emily Whelan was recalled from the Women’s Under-19s following an injury to Heather Payne.
Referee: Maria Marotta
Midfielder Niamh Fahey is set to win her 90th cap if she features this afternoon.
Ireland can take command at the top of the group with a win in this match against Montenegro.
Ireland are unbeaten in Group I so far taking ten points from a possible twelve.
Montenegro are rooted to the bottom of the table with zero points from a possible nine for them.
Montenegro 35/1 ; Draw 11/1 ; Ireland 1/50
Ireland 4-0 Montenegro