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key win Vera Pauw hails Ireland’s win over Finland as she makes bold World Cup claim

Irish boss praises discipline of Girls in Green to claim big World Cup 2023 qualifying win

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Ireland manager Vera Pauw talks to her players after their victory over Finland in the Women's World Cup Group A qualifier in Helsinki. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ireland manager Vera Pauw talks to her players after their victory over Finland in the Women's World Cup Group A qualifier in Helsinki. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ireland manager Vera Pauw talks to her players after their victory over Finland in the Women's World Cup Group A qualifier in Helsinki. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Vera Pauw claimed her Irish tigers can emerge from Group A after a 2-1 victory in Finland ensured her side took an early firm grip on the path towards a play-off spot for next year’s World Cup.

It’s amazing,” declared Pauw after goals in each half from Megan Connolly and Denise O’Sullivan secured a precious three point haul against a side who had thumped them 4-1 here four years ago.

“This was not our most beautiful game but it was the most effective. They had the discipline to play the style away and that is amazing. Without those defeats we had in the last few months against higher-ranked sides, we couldn’t have done this.

“The luck needs to come our way too and if we score immediately after conceding, that is fantastic, it means this team is so flexible.

“We played 1-5-4-1 at the end and we played Denise on the left, as Jamie Finn and Megan Connolly were needed as sitters and we needed the mobility of Denise out wide.

“This result now gives us confidence to get out of this group but we have many difficult games against Slovakia and Georgia but they will be tough, Georgia put it up to Finland.”

Corkonian Denise O’Sullivan, who had been a doubt after damaging her arm in last Thursday’s defeat to Sweden, came up trumps with the winning goal five minutes after the Finns had levelled matters.

“We’re absolutely delighted to get three points,” beamed O’Sullivan.

“It wasn’t pretty but we’ll go home happy with the points. We scored some good goals. I was screaming or Megan to take that free.

“We stayed composed at times, we could have dome better with the ball but we have a few more games to get up to the level.

“My arm was kicked on the floor and I couldn’t move it but the scan was important and I was happy to be able to get back and help the girls.”

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