The women’s national team of the REPUBLIC OF IRELAND may have one game left before reaching the finals of the Pinatar Cup, but this tournament is a bigger picture.
After the victory over Poland with a score of 2-1, a strong rotation of the team was expected, but it is Vera Pavv to present “a completely different team” against Russia in the evening semifinal [KO 7.30pm Irish time, live on FAI TV] confirms that player development is the focus in La Manga, Spain.
The new XI species will be tested and tested in preparation for the resumption of the 2023 World Cup qualifiers. Ireland’s bid to take part in the first-ever major tournament will be re-launched with an important trip to victorious Sweden on 12 April.
Paw does not call today’s meeting with Russia, which is ranked 25th in the world, ahead of Ireland by six places, the semifinals, emphasizing that it is a friendly tournament with positives, trials and tribulations received in three rounds and players get playing time priority.
Group changes could mean an international debut for goalkeeper Brighton and Hove Albion Megan Walsh, universal Shelburn star Chloe Mustache and 16-year-old Reds talent Abby Larkin.
Liverpool scorer Liane Kiernan and her clubmate Megan Campbell are also set to get international minutes after several years of “start-up”.
“Regardless of who is on the field, the principles remain the same,” said Campbell, who is suffering from injuries, earlier this week as she targeted the long-awaited 43rd match per match.
“The goal, obviously, is to win the game. You want to win every game of your country. The emphasis is on his victory.
“We obviously know that Russia will be a threat. They will also be the physical side, like Poland, but we just go into it with our own confidence and focus on ourselves, on what we can do and what we can get out of this camp, because after all, it’s a friendly tournament.
“That’s why we learn and grow as a team. It’s not all here and now and the competition in this game, but growth as a team. “
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Universal defender and long-range specialist Campbell has most often watched this from the outside for the past two years, as serious injuries to his ankles and knees unfortunately meant that her immediate involvement was as an RTÉ expert.
But the return to the thicket confirmed the exponential growth.
“Progress since the last time I was, we went to the races,” – said a native of Drageda.
“The professionalism of the girls has always been in terms of fitness and striving to be the best you can when you come to camp with your national team, but technically and tactically the girls are now very far ahead, compared to when I was last.
“Fit young, confidence to be on the sword when you’re under pressure, it wasn’t known to us before. It’s good that girls see that even if you face good opposition, you can still play through it.
“We follow the principles that Faith has instilled in us; rest assured and you take a risk, but it’s a risk versus a reward, and if the reward succeeds, you win the game ”.
Said Louise Quinn after Poland’s victory that this tournament is a “competition we can do and win” and Kiernan agrees that building momentum before the showdown with Sweden is key.
“Of course, yes. Obviously this is a good tournament to look at the players. We are going to the match wanting to do well and it will bring a lot of confidence in our next qualifying game against Sweden. Let’s see what happens.
“We entered the game against Poland with very good results and we worked well against them. Let’s hope we can continue like this. Everyone is pretty sure. It’s always good to win. “
The group is undeniably excited, as Campbell and Kiernan reported; “chilled atmosphere in the sun” featuring the best in Girls In Green.
In an effort to beat the Russians, who beat Hungary in a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals, for the first time since the seventh attempt, they will not lose sight of the overall picture.
Staying in a good position, second place in Group A, the ultimate goal – qualifying for Australia and New Zealand-2023.
“It’s unbelievable,” Campbell nods. “The result against Australia in the friendly and the next round of games, in the last qualifying game, it was incredible for us to get out of the back of this camp with such a grand result [11-0 against Georgia]that positive and growth in the game.
“But this is a big test against Sweden in April, so to start this tournament with a victory over Poland, which is above us, it is very nice to see how far the team has gone.
“It also gives us confidence to know that when we play against teams with the highest seed, we are able to keep ourselves strong.”
More of that tonight, yes.