Ireland can do


Ireland can do "something special" and qualify for World Cup | Vera Pauw

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Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw believes her team can book their place a maiden major finals by reaching the 2023 World Cup.

Ireland have been drawn against Sweden, Finland, Slovakia and Georgia in Group A of European qualifying, where the first place side will advance directly to the finals.

Pauw says Sweden will be expected to top the group but she's confident that Ireland can contend for second-place.

"Sweden is a really, really tough opponent," the former Dutch player said this afternoon. "They're going to the Olympics, they're one of the three [European] teams going.

"On the other hand, everybody in the first pot is tough; Germany, the Netherlands, or England, so we'll take that.

"The second pot was Finland. It's not the best draw, but it's definitely a team we can play against, and definitely a team that we have a chance against. If we grow the way we do now and if we get a chance to prepare well, we have a chance against them.

"This team hasn't seen the ceiling yet. I've said that before, but it is true. Every game, we are getting better, and if we keep growing, then I wouldn't see a reason why we do not have a chance."

Pauw spoke to her captain Katie McCabe after the draw, and she says the Arsenal winger also believes they can qualify.

“I think the players are very confident. I was talking to Katie McCabe just before now. Of course, amongst their group, they already had all the chats and they are all up for it. She said everybody is really up for this challenge. Everybody sees that we have a chance, it’s not that we are chanceless, not at all.

If we prepare ourselves well, if we do not make the individual huge mistakes that we have done so far, and I think we are on the point of getting them out of our game, then we have a very good chance to do something special.”

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