Irish eyes quickly turn to Germany

Ireland will have to produce one of their biggest wins yet on Wednesday if they are to continue their World Cup journey following a 1-0 defeat to debutantes Chile at the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen.

By Sports Desk
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 8:00 am

It means they need to win against world number five side Germany on Wednesday (3.30pm, Irish time) and then hope goal difference works in their favour later when Chile meet the Netherlands.

It was a day in which Ireland could not get the best out of their penalty corner attack as 10 set pieces went unconverted while the South American side whipped home the winner with 12 minutes to go via Denise Krimerman Losada.

Coach Sean Dancer was left to lament 10 penalty corner chances as the crucial goal would not fall their way.

Ireland's Hannah McLoughlin

“Really disappointed,” he said afterwards. “We dominated the first half and couldn’t score; Chile had the best of the second half, particularly the third quarter so tough to concede and lose 1-0.

“Chile ran pretty good lines at the penalty corners and took away some of the things we wanted to do. We have to give them credit for closing it down. They did a good job.”

Hannah McLoughlin concurred, adding: “It is definitely a game we targeted for three points and obviously haven’t got them. We have a 24-hour turnaround to our game against Germany so we need to park this one quickly, learn from it and get ready for tomorrow as quick as possible.”

The first three quarters were scoreless with Ireland unable to make full use of six corners while Chile were indisciplined, spending a third of the first half short-handed due to cards.

Sarah Torrans deflected a first minute chance into the bottom corner but Katie Mullan’s cross from the left was deemed to have hit her back-stick.

Mullan then had a backhand shot test Claudia Schuler before the South American side endured their first sin-binnings with less than 10 minutes gone as passions threatened to boil over.

The first quarter break allowed things settle and Chile did pick off a few strong counters with Domenica Ananias’ cross almost turned in by a diving Paula Valdivia.

But Hannah McLoughlin went closest to breaking the deadlock before the first half when she turned on her reverse-side and clipped a shot that nicked the outside of the left post.

With so much at stake, the third quarter became scrappier and increasingly tense with the play more and more fractious. Chile had two corners fall their way but Ayeisha McFerran and her defensive numbers closed the angles while Francisca Tala’s mid-circle shot on the turn was just wide.

But the game turned with 12 minutes to go when Chile picked off yet another set piece and this time, Denise Krimerman Losada slapped hard and true down the left channel to hit the backboard.

The Green Army responded immediately, winning three more corners to no avail while Zara Malseed had a trio of shots on goal, all defended by desperate defensive sticks.

Life got harder still when Lena Tice was shown a yellow card for a foul on halfway and Róisín Upton took a blow to the head and, in the staccato finish, Chile held on.

It means the focus turns quickly to their game with Germany on Wednesday:

“We do need to let it sink in for a while, take some lessons, look back on the video but two matches in 24 hours is pretty quick,” Sarah Hawkshaw added

"There has to come a point where we do park this one mentally and put all our focus on Germany.”

“We have a moment of disappointment and then we have to look at tomorrow. “We have to switch our mind to recovery and we have a huge opportunity against the Germans who we always give a good game.

“It is a huge [all-or-nothing] opportunity for us to put something away against them and I really believe we can.”