Ireland’s opening World Cup campaign came down to one mistake and on converted a penalty.
Stand-in captain Steph Catley punished the Irish indiscretion. Marissa Sheva bundling into Hayley Raso just six minutes into the second-half. Australia winning out 1-0.
Otherwise Ireland were always in the game, albeit only after 70 minutes and substitutes did they threaten the Australian goal.
Australia were hit with a blow just before kick-off as captain Sam Kerr revealed a calf strain made her sit this one out. Kerr is out of the Aussies meeting with Nigeria.
While Australia dominated first-half possession without Kerr they were blunt in attack. While early attacks on the Irish defence were worrying, not once in the opening period was keeper Courtney Brosnan troubled.
Ireland however rarely if at all, entered the hosts final third in that opening period. Marissa Sheva finding some joy down the left-hand side. Ireland however lacked force in the centre.
While not on the front foot, the visitors were never under pressure.
The hosts coming closet to opening the scoring. Sinead Farrelly losing Hayley Raso from a corner. Rose could only head wide.
The nil-all half-time score line was most probably fair, giving the Irish more confidence as they headed for the dressing room.
Australia returned with more vigour for the second-half. Vine weaved in from the left, but Niamh Fahey responded to it and drew a foul.
Penatly settles the game
In the blink of an eye the Irish were undone. Ireland had come under pressure from the fired up Aussies. The ball into the box may not have found anyone, before Sheva bundling Raso from behind and begging for a VAR review.
However, there was no doubt in was a spot-kick. Steph Catley smashed the ball into the corner of the net.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) July 20, 2023
The expected collapse and Aussie tsunami never occurred. In fact it was Ireland who charged forward.
McCabe’s corner kick’s had the Aussies on the ropes. Never did Ireland land a telling blow.
Connolly’s free-kick on the edge of the box was flicked over the bar when it was on-target.
Payne scuffed a shot late on, McCabe from the rebound produced a good save from Arnold and the Aussies survived.
A disappointing opening game, but Ireland are not out. They will live to fight another day.