I just got back from Ayia Napa, Cyprus. I was with team Ireland for the Cyprus Cup and what a great week for us. We were the lowest ranked team coming into the tournament but regardless, we came away with some pretty good results.
In case for some reason you don’t read updates from the best women’s soccer-news website, womensoccerunited.com(shameless plug), here’s how things faired.
We drew New Zealand 1-1 in our first match, drew South Korea 1-1 in our second, and beat Switzerland 2-1 in the final match of the group phase. Here is a picture (below) of myself with my team-mate from SC Freiburg, Caro Abbe. We traded jerseys after the match.
That puts us in 2nd place out of the group and set to play Canada for 5th place. We ended up losing 2-1 to Canada but it was a hard fought match and they barely scraped out the win. Although the Canadians did win the match they lost their dignity and our respect for their team. Never in my career have I heard such nasty names and taunting out of an opposing players’ mouth. Cursing out and flipping the bird to the opposing team’s goalkeeper after you score a goal….that’s classless in my book.
I am sure that some people are a little shocked that we are playing for 5th place after being seeded 12th and I won’t lie, so was I. It is not that I didn’t think that we were capable of it. It just seemed like we were never able to put all the pieces together. And we always had to sit back and wait for teams to come on to us, basically sit back and take it for 90 mins hoping to keep the score down. As an attacker this was an incredibly boring and frustrating way to approach the game. Finally though we are starting to impose our game on other teams and it seems to be paying off.
When you are winning players feel confident in themselves, in their play and open up more. Everyone is happy to spend time together. When you are losing things just don’t run as smoothly. As you can imagine there is no positive reminiscing about the game. It’s more, “I don’t want to talk about it, I’m p*ssed that we lost”. If things get really bad then there is usually one or a few that start the moaning and finger pointing, It is the unfortunate truth. You find yourself thinking, ‘if its not working, whats the problem?’. Winning in high-level sports is addicting. It can effect your entire mood and the team environment. The effort you put into achieving the winning feeling is hard to rival. What you sacrifice sometimes seems mind-boggling when you think about it. And the joy you get from it is at times orgasmic.
Another great part about the Cyprus cup is that we get to play against so many different teams from all over the world. Usually in international football it seems you end up playing the same european teams (or same teams from your region) over and over. This week we have played teams from four different continents from across the globe. Not only do you get to see the different playing styles other countries have but also sometimes you are blessed with a look into other parts of their culture. For example, please check out this video I got of the South Koreans dancing to their most famous pop stars, PSYs’ international hit, “Gangnam Style’:
I can honestly say these Korean girls did the song justice. And the one in the front that I focused on the most practically had to be dragged off the stage! She was later thrown into the pool by some of her teammates! And I thought that the Koreans were a reserved bunch! Alright that’s it for now, stage is set for our World Cup Qualifier against Germany April 5th.