Northern Ireland are focused on the job in hand says Sarah McFadden
Sarah McFadden says Northern Ireland will not get ahead of themselves as they prepare to take on Ukraine in the first leg of their EURO 2022 play-off in Kovalivka this evening.
A place at next year’s tournament in England awaits the winners, but the Durham Women player says they are only focusing on the job in hand.
“We are not even thinking of the Women’s Euros in England,” said McFadden.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We have two massive games ahead of us.
“We are the underdogs against Ukraine but hopefully we can get the job done.
“Ukraine are ranked 24th in the world (compared to NI in 49th) and we are under no illusions. It’s going to be a massive test for us.
“The home-based players (NI-based players) have been training really, really hard almost like a club team since before Christmas.
“They have been training together four or five times a week. They do have that familiarity like a club team and have been training with our coaches.
“And, mixed in with those in the squad who have been playing regularly in England, I think that will really benefit us. We have got a really good group that have been together for a long time.
“When it comes to this point we can’t have any excuses. We’ve just got to get out there and do the job.
“We are fully prepared for anything that we will come up against.
“I think Ukraine not having fans at the game will benefit us a little bit because the Ukrainians might have fed off their supporters being there.
“We are used to playing in empty stadiums now so we will be OK with that and will not really think about it – and hopefully just get the job done.”
BBC NI will broadcast both games of Northern Ireland’s UEFA Women’s EURO play-off against Ukraine as Kenny Shiels’ side aim to make history and qualify for a major tournament for the first time.
Tonight’s game at Kolos Stadium, Kovalivka, kick-off 5pm, will be shown live on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport NI website and via the Red Button, and McFadden has welcomed the coverage.
“We may not get another game like this for 10 years so we want to make sure as many people as possible get to see it and hopefully that will have a positive impact,” she said.
“It’s a massive step for women’s football in Northern Ireland that both of these games are being shown live on TV.”
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