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Resolute Ireland performance ends in narrow defeat to quality Swedes


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The Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifying campaign began with a creditable 1-0 defeat to Sweden. 

A freakish own goal via Louise Quinn handed the Swedes the win, but if ever there was a case for a losing bonus point in football - this was it.

Ireland frustrated their illustrious opponents for long spells of the game, having to play rope-a-dope at times, but crucially kept the Olympic finalists from running away with things.

One concern ahead of Tuesday's trip to Finland centres around Denise O'Sullivan. The creative midfielder came off in injury time clutching an injured elbow.

Ireland's offside trap was tested frequently in the opening exchanges, with Stina Blanckstenius producing the first meaningful save from Courtney Brosnan. The BK Hacken striker cut in from the left after a beautifully-weighted ball over the top, but her shot lacked the required incision to beat the Irish keeper.

Sweden were only too happy to exploit the lack of width to the hosts' defence, with Brosnan again called into action to gather another Blanckstenius effort.

Constantly on the shoulder of an Ireland defender, Blanckstenius had what looked a creditable shout for a penalty dismissed, following a challenge from Jamie Finn.

Ireland had a penalty claim of their own rebuffed, after Louise Quinn was bundled to the ground by Amanda Ilestedt, bookending the first spell of genuine pressure from the home side just prior to the half-hour mark.

Brosnan was again called into action nine-minutes before the break, when she acrobatically tipped a dipping, long-range effort from Filippa Angeldal over her crossbar.

Blanckstenius was again the protagonist as Sweden broke the deadlock. She aimed a low shot at Brosnan's goal which was met en route by the tangling feet of Louise Quinn and the keeper's despairing dive to her right wasn't enough to prevent the own goal.

Going behind put a defensively oriented side in a pickle. But the first chance of the second half went to Lucy Quinn. The Birmingham striker tried to side-foot the ball goal-ward but instead it drifted wide.

Brosnan was again called into action midway through the second half, confidently pushing away a Blanckstenius shot after the rangy striker had woven through the Ireland defence.

But Pauw's charges began to believe there was something in the game for them, the longer the game remained at 1-0. Referee Deborah Anex waved away another Ireland penalty shout when Denise O'Sullivan looked to be pushed over in the Swedish box.

There was another moment of panic in the Swedish penalty area when a Megan Connolly snapshot was blocked following a cross from the right from substitute, Leanne Kiernan.

Next up for Ireland is Tuesday night's game away to Finland. The Finns maintained their unbeaten start to the group on Thursday with a 3-0 win away to Georgia.

Fahy | “I don’t think Vera has imprinted an identity in the team just yet”


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Denise O'Sullivan Ireland Katie Mccabe Lucy Quinn Niamh Fahey Republic Of Ireland Stina Blanckstenius Sweden Vera Pauw Women's World Cup Qualifiers

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