World No.2 and European Champions Germany finished their World Cup campaign with ten wins out of ten but the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team emerged from this game in Heidenheim with their reputation greatly enhanced.
After conceding two disappointing goals in a six minute spell midway through the first half the Irish regrouped, kept the free-scoring Germans scoreless for the rest of the game and almost got the goal their second-half performance deserved when Louise Quinn headed narrowly wide.
After the game, Ireland manager Sue Ronan said: “It is a strange feeling to be disappointed after losing 2-0 to Germany in Germany but that’s how we feel. We were poor in the first half and conceded what we would feel were two sloppy goals. But we regrouped at half-time and got on the ball in the second half and posed them a lot of questions. We defended much better and it would have been interesting if we had managed to pull a goal back.
“It’s been a good campaign. We are disappointed we didn’t get second place because that was our objective but we have ended up with a record number of points, six clean-sheets and a group of players that have the potential to have a real go at trying to qualify for Euro 2017. “
The opening German goal after 26 minutes came, ironically, from Ireland’s best chance of the first half. A Megan Campbell free-kick on the edge of the German penalty area failed to beat the wall and when Julie Ann Russell’s effort from the rebound was charged down the home side swept forward on the counter-attack, catching the Irish out. The move ended with Melanie Behringer sweeping the ball past Byrne from 12 metres.
It was a disappointing goal to concede and worse was to follow six minutes later. Behringer shanked a shot across the face of the penalty area and Anja MIttag showed tremendous skill and composure in meeting the ball with a crisp volley that she blasted past Byrne into the roof of the net.
The Irish regrouped after that and after the break played much better, posing a much greater threat to the German defence. Louise Quinn went close to pulling a goal back when she headed a Megan Campbell free-kick just past the post with German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer at full stretch. The Germans had chances to add to their total but found the Irish defence hard to break down and when they did Emma Byrne produced some excellent saves to deny them.
The Germans now head to the World Cup in Canada next summer while the Irish can begin their preparations for the Euro 2017 with optimism and will eagerly await the draw on April 13.
Republic of Ireland: Emma Byrne (Arsenal); Áine O’Gorman (UCD Waves), Louise Quinn (Eskilstuna United), Niamh Fahey (Arsenal), Karen Duggan (UCD Waves); Shannon Smyth (Amazon Grimstad). Dora Gorman (UCD Waves), Megan Campbell (Florida State University), Ruesha Littlejohn (Sandviken), Fiona O’Sullivan (Notts County), Julie Ann Russell (UCD Waves). Subs: Denise O’Sullivan (Glasgow City) for F O’Sullivan (64), Stephanie Roche (ASPTT Albi) for Russell (72), Sophie Perry (Brighton & Hove Albion) for Littlejohn (89). Unused subs: Denise O’Sullivan (Glasgow City); Niamh Reid-Burke (Raheny United), Meabh de Burca (Galway WFC), Ciara Grant (UCD Waves), Rachel Graham (Raheny United).
Germany: Angerer (GK) (C), Peter, Krahn, Kemme, Laudehr (Faisst 46), Behringer, Marozsán, Hendrich, Leupolz (Henning (69), Mittag, Šašić (Alushi 46).
Referee: Kateryna Monzul (Ukraine).
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