Vera Pauw believes an Ireland reaching their first major ever tournament 'could inspire Ireland's next generation'

Vera Pauw believes an Ireland reaching their first major ever tournament 'could inspire Ireland's next generation'

Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw believes that Ireland reaching their first World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 could be a game changer for future Ireland's football teams. 

Ireland are on the cusp of history tonight. The head melting permutations of the play-off phase have complicated matters, but Pauw has remained defiant that Ireland can do the job and become the first Irish women's side to reach a major tournament.

The Girls in Green could beat Scotland tonight in Hampden Park(8pm) and reach the final if other results go their way this week.

The other scenario for Ireland is a 10-team intercontinental play-off in February, which an outcome that Ireland would like to avoid.

Pauw believes reaching the finals could 'changes life's.

"The ultimate goal of elite football, of international football, is to inspire the next generation," said Pauw.

"That's why we put so much money into a few players, but that is because of developing the whole game all over the world. If we succeed it would change lives."

Captain Katie McCabe, who has been one of Pauw's mainstays this campaign has reaffirmed her managers comments. A win would be huge, but inspiring the likes of her sister who plays in the Under-16s to reach the same stage as her is just as big a motivation for her.

"For us it's about, obviously going to that first major tournament in our history and what it would do for football in Ireland would be massive. That’s what we want to do. We want to achieve that goal, but we want to also inspire young girls in Ireland, making sure they can dream and hopefully play for Ireland too, McCabe added.

"I’ve got my little sister [Lauryn] who is representing the Under-16s at the minute. We want to put ourselves in that limelight to show that they can achieve and play professional football, make major tournaments. Obviously, the focus will be on winning the game but if we win it, the knock-on effect of that would be massive.

"Ever since I got the captaincy… as a young kid I've always wanted to represent Ireland. To do it as captain, it fills me with pride each and every single time. It’s something I’ll never take for granted, leading the girls out. It will be an absolute pleasure to do it tomorrow night here at Hampden as well."

Ireland play Scotland tonight at 8pm.