Republic of Ireland's head coach, Vera Pauw, has highlighted the own-goal conceded by Ireland during their match against Canada as the pivotal moment in their World Cup clash.
For Ireland, securing a victory against the Olympic champions in Perth was essential to keep their World Cup dreams alive. They managed to take an early lead through Katie McCabe's corner, but Canada equalised by the end of the first half.
The turning point occurred when Julia Grosso's low cross slipped through Ireland's defense in the rain. The attempted cross deflected off Megan Connolly's studs and found its way into the bottom corner of the net, resulting in the unfortunate own-goal.
Subsequently, Canada scored again through Adriana Leon, ending their victory and ending Ireland's short stay in the tournament.
Addressing the media after the game, Pauw explained that the own-goal altered the game's dynamics for Ireland. She emphasised the importance of maintaining tight organisation, especially towards the end of the first half, to avoid such critical moments.
"We've experienced that before and we've spoken so much about it but at the end of the first half, you have to keep everything, the organisation, tight and it was one moment where there was no cover," she said.
"Canada cut in and there was no cover so they could have a free cross."
'We can be proud of what we've shown but at the end of the day we're out - a disappointed Ireland manager Vera Pauw speaks to @Corktod in the aftermath of her side's elimination from the #FIFAWomensWorldCup2023 #rtsoccer #coygig #faiwomen pic.twitter.com/8ACnHuZHFf
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) July 26, 2023
Pauw also acknowledged the team's disappointment in exiting the World Cup, but she expressed pride in the performance of her Ireland side. She noted that they felt in control of the game during the first half and made tactical substitutions, attempting to add variety and pressure to their attacking play.
"We felt that we could control the game in the first half and we brought Abbie Larkin in for more variety," she added.
"But they stepped up and she was sandwiched, she couldn't get really out. We tried with Marissa Sheva on the right to try and get space forwards, we tried with Lily Agg to get more pressure forward – she's a goalscorer – and then we played 15 minutes with a 4-2-4 which with execution we've done better before."
Despite their best efforts against the Olympic champions, Ireland could not secure the win they needed. Nevertheless, Pauw commended her team's efforts throughout the match.
"But against the Olympic champions, again we can be proud of what we've shown but yeh, we're out."
Ireland's next game is against Nigeria, scheduled for Monday with a kick-off time of 11 pm.
Republic of Ireland: Courtney Brosnan; Aine O’Gorman (Marissa Sheva 59), Niamh Fahey, Louise Quinn, Megan Connolly, Katie McCabe; Lucy Quinn (Abbie Larkin 45), Denise O'Sullivan, Sinead Farrelly (Izzy Atkinson 65), Ruesha Littlejohn (Lily Agg 65); Kyra Carusa (Amber Barrett 65)
Canada: Kailen Sheridan; Kadeisha Buchanan (Shelina Zadorsky 45), Jayde Riviere (Allysha Chapman 90), Ashley Lawrence, Vanessa Gilles; Quinn, Julia Grosso (Sophie Schmidt 45), Jessie Fleming; Jordyn Huitema, Adriana Leon (Cloe Lacasse 59), Eveleyne Veins (Christine Sinclair 45)
Referee: Laura Fortunato (Argentina)