Adelina Engman 52' -
Scored: 52'


Scored: 10'
- Megan Connolly 10'

Scored: 56'
- Denise O'Sullivan 56'


2023 FIFA Womens's World Cup Qualifier: Finland 1-2 Republic of Ireland

Wed, Oct 27 2021

Denise O'Sullivan scored the winning goal for Ireland in Helsinki today. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick

Ireland claimed their first win in their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win over Finland in Helsinki on Tuesday.

Megan Connolly’s early goal from a free kick was cancelled out by Adelina Engman’s equaliser, but a headed goal from Denise O’Sullivan sealed all three points for Vera Pauw’s side at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium.

Ireland headed into the game having lost their opening Group A game to heavyweights Sweden. The Girls in Green fell to a 1-0 defeat against the Olympic silver medallists in Tallaght last Thursday.

Vera Pauw made no changes to the side for this game, with O’Sullivan passing fit having left the pitch with her right arm in a sling following the Sweden game.

Finland made 4 changes from the side that won 3-0 over Georgia last time out, with goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela marking her 101st appearance for her country. Meanwhile, Paris FC striker Linda Sallstrom went into the game in search of her 50th international goal. The home side, ranked 25th in the world, started the day in 2nd place in Group A, looking to make it three from three in their opening games in this campaign

But it was the Irish who made the better start to the match with an impressive attacking spell in the opening 10 minutes. Their relentless pressure culminated in a free kick in the ninth minute; Connolly seized the initiative with a wonderful shot which struck the underside of the crossbar, deflecting off Korpela and into the Finnish net.

The goal energised the home side, however; Finland recovered from a shaky start and grew into the game. They found a lot of success down the right flank with Tuija Hyyrynen making promising runs into the attacking third.

Ireland’s problems from the Sweden game were still evident in Helsinki - a concerted attacking effort left a lot of space for the Finns to launch dangerous counterattacks.

Savannah McCarthy put in a superb defensive shift, especially in the first half, and her interventions snuffed out Finnish opportunities in the nick of time.

Finland persisted, and Hyyrynen’s precision at the set-piece made life very difficult for the away side. Her free kick on the half-hour mark found the head of Sallstrom whose effort strayed wide, while a very useful corner came to Natalia Kuikka, but her header went inches over the bar.

There was a brief heart-in-mouth moment just before half-time with Ireland ‘keeper Courtney Brosnan well off her line. Finland couldn’t make it count, though, and it remained 1-0 to the visitors at the break.

Finland started the second half as they finished the first. In the 52nd minute, with Ireland momentarily a player down with Katie McCabe recovering from a strong Engman challenge, Hyyrynen threaded a ball into the Irish box, and the Chelsea player Engman slotted it in for a precious equaliser.

But Ireland wouldn’t be behind for long and four minutes later, a wonderful exchange of passes between Jamie Finn and Heather Payne allowed Payne to burn her marker on the outside.

She lobbed the ball towards Korpela, who tipped it over her head and across the goalmouth to meet O’Sullivan at the far post. With a brilliant attacking display, it was no more than the North Carolina Courage player deserved.

Following the goal, the game really opened up as both sides went searching for additional goals. Ireland were able to withstand a sustained period of Finnish pressure, while McCabe was desperately unlucky to not make it three - her low-driven shot went just wide of the right post.

Brighton’s Rianna Jarrett came into the game replacing Lucy Quinn, but Vera Pauw resisted the temptation to tinker too much with the team’s shape, a recurring problem with this Ireland side under her watch.

Finland huffed and puffed, desperate for another equaliser. Hyyrynen’s dangerous crosses were punched away by the confident Brosnan, but the home side kept coming forward. The spirited Irish defence were able to repel the Finnish assault but could not keep the ball under control for very long.

The unusually quiet Emma Koivisto came very close with her shot after a goalmouth scramble, and the relentless pressure from Finland made it a nervy final few minutes for the Girls in Green. However, Ireland held out to open their account in Group A. Next up for Vera Pauw’s side is the visit of Slovakia to Tallaght on November 25th.

Finland Women: Tinja-Riika Korpela; Tuija Hyyrynen, Anna Westerlund, Natalia Kuikka, Emma Koivisto; Adelina Engman, Emmi Alanen, Eveliina Summanen, Ria Öling (Essi Sainio 86); Sanni Franssi, Linda Sällström (Amanda Rantanan 89).

Subs not used: Paula Myllyoja, Elli Pikkujamsa, Anna Auvinen, Olga Ahtinen, Juliette Kemppi, Nora Heoroum, Anna Tamminen, Julia Tunturi, Eva Nystrom, Jutta Rantala.

Booked: None.

Republic of Ireland Women: Courtney Brosnan; Niamh Fahey, Louise Quinn; Megan Connolly, Jamie Finn, Savannah McCarthy, Denise O'Sullivan; Katie McCabe, Aine O'Gorman, Heather Payne, Lucy Quinn (Rianna Jarrett 75).

Subs not used: Grace Moloney, Eve Badana, Claire Walsh, Diane Caldwell, Niamh Farrelly, Roma McLaughlin, Ciara Grant, Aoibheann Clancy, Amber Barrett, Saoirse Noonan, Leanne Kiernan.

Booked: None.

Referee: Alexandra Collin (FRA)

extratime.com Player of the Match: Denise O’Sullivan (Republic of Ireland)


Finland Women
LAug. 31, 2018
Spain Women 5 - 1 Finland Women
WSept. 21, 2021
Finland Women 2 - 1 Slovakia W
WOct. 21, 2021
Georgia Women 0 - 3 Finland Women
LOct. 26, 2021
Finland Women 1 - 2 Ireland W
LNov. 25, 2021
Sweden 2 - 1 Finland Women
Tinja-Rikka Korpela
Goalkeeper
Natalia Kuikka
Defender
Emma Koivisto
Defender
Tuija Hyyrynen
Defender
Anna Westerlund
Defender
Eveliina Summanen
Midfielder
Ria Oling
85'
85Subbed Off: Essi Sainio 85'
Midfielder
Adelina Engman
Scored: 52'
Midfielder
Emmi Alanen
Midfielder
Linda Sallstrom
88'
88Subbed Off: Amanda Rantanen 88'
Forward
Sanni Franssi
Forward

Substitutes
Julia Tunturi
Unknown
Anna Tamminen
Goalkeeper
Essi Sainio
85'
85Subbed On: Ria Oling 85'
Midfield
Amanda Rantanen
88'
88Subbed On: Linda Sallstrom 88'
Forward
Jutta Rantala
Forward
Elli Pikkujamsa
Defender
Eva Nystrom
Defender
Paula Myllyoja
Goalkeeper
Juliette Kemppi
Forward
Nora Heroum
Midfield
Anna Auvinen
Defender
Olga Ahtinen
Midfield
Ireland W
WOct. 26, 2021
Finland Women 1 - 2 Ireland W
DNov. 25, 2021
Ireland W 1 - 1 Slovakia W
WNov. 30, 2021
Ireland W 11 - 0 Georgia Women
LFeb. 19, 2022
Russia W 1 - 0 Ireland W
DApril 12, 2022
Sweden 1 - 1 Ireland W
1 Courtney Brosnan
Goalkeeper
5 Niamh Fahey
Defender
4 Louise Quinn
Defender
6 Megan Connolly
Midfielder
Scored: 10'
17 Jamie Finn
Midfielder
Booked: 71'
Savannah McCarthy
Midfielder
10 Denise O'Sullivan
Midfielder
Scored: 56'
11 Katie McCabe
Forward
13 Aine O'Gorman
Forward
14 Heather Payne
Forward
15 Lucy Quinn
Forward 75'
75Subbed Off: Rianna Jarrett 75'

Substitutes
Eve Badana
Goalkeeper
9 Amber Barrett
Forward
Diane Caldwell
Defender
Aoibheann Clancy
Midfield
Niamh Farrelly
Midfield
21 Ciara Grant
Midfield
Rianna Jarrett
Forward 75'
75Subbed On: Lucy Quinn 75'
7 Leanne Kiernan
Forward
Roma McLaughlin
Midfield
16 Grace Moloney
Goalkeeper
Saoirse Noonan
Forward
23 Claire Walsh
Defender

MATCH INFO

Competition: 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup Qualifying Group A

Date: 4:15 p.m. Oct. 26, 2021

Venue:

Referee: Unknown

Attendance: Unknown

#WorldCupQualifying