Ireland almost secured a stunning win against one of the world’s best last month..
As the clock ticked down in Gothenburg, Louise Quinn and her Ireland teammates were on the cusp of one of their greatest ever results in international football.
To rekindle the memories, the Girls in Green took a shock 1-0 lead through Katie McCabe in the first-half against Sweden, sparking an onslaught of Swedish pressure at a raucous Gamla Ullevi Stadium, which was set for a World Cup qualification party.
The Swedes went into the game off the back of launching a ‘ballsy‘ jersey, inserting a link into how a side could defeat them. Of course, Ireland would be one of the first side’s that faced them in their new strip.
The Sweden women’s national team released their kit for the Euros which includes a guide on ‘how to stop Sweden.’
The jersey celebrates the No. 2-ranked team in the world with analysis of each player.
That confidence 😤
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 5, 2022
And to an extent, Quinn and her Ireland teammates did. Although, a famous win was taken away from their grasp late on following a dramatic equaliser.
“It was very ballsy of them, and it was just the fact that we were playing them next brought it up quite a bit..”
But speaking a few weeks on from the game, Quinn has allowed the dust to settle on the game, and admits the ‘jersey-gate’ did not especially bother them.
“It was very ballsy of them, and it was just the fact that we were playing them next brought it up quite a bit,” Quinn jokes. “We said that we would try rewrite their tags and whatever..
“But it didn’t bother us that we were playing them next, and for us we just had to approach it in the way that we needed to.
“There was a bit of a laugh about it, but fair play to them, and it was definitely a confident thing. Hopefully for them they can go on and do something in the Euros and back it up.”
At club level, Quinn was well-prepared for her Swedish task, having struggled at the foot of the WSL with Birmingham City, as she exposed herself to the challenge of Stina Blackstenius and co. with the Blues on a regular basis.
“You play a good handful of them in the league, and the way we played at Birmingham was a similar way to how the Irish team played,” she adds.
“There were a lot of bodies on the line, and it was about being really clinical on the ball. For me, it linked in perfectly and it just gave me confidence in the way I was approaching other games with Birmingham and the Irish teams and I’m consistent in my play.
“I think that showed. I was consistent through the year and that’s what is important to me. I was always look to put in a solid shift and get a good 7/10 per game.”
Against Sweden, Ireland were just minutes away from securing a famous win, a victory that would have been unthinkable in the not so distant past.
And that reality was not lost on Quinn, who admitted that she though the game was there to be won for Vera Pauw’s side as she helped withstand the relentless ‘waves’ of Sweden attacks.
“I think it was around the 75th minute when I thought it was on,” she replied. “Time was going by really slowly up to the 60th minute, and then maybe up to the 70th. Then it got to that.
“You were just thinking, keep doing what we were doing. It was very fatiguing, but you saw that hope that we could get something out of the game. That was basically what I thought through the waves of pressure to be honest.
Sweden 0-1 Ireland – Katie McCabe gives the visitors a shock lead against the World No. 2 side. Vera Pauw’s side hit the front just before the break #rtesoccer #SWEIRL
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) April 12, 2022
“After they scored you were a bit gutted but we could still get the point through a set-piece if we could try get forward at all. I didn’t feel like they were going to score a second.
“And that shows the development of the team that sometimes you might let that slip, but that is the difference in that team now.”
“If you slip up here, it can be detrimental to the qualification process..”
Next up for Ireland, they do face an entirely different test of their credentials.
Instead of playing a side with the quality of Sweden, they face Georgia, who they easily swept aside at Tallaght Stadium 11-0. Granted, this time it will be away from home, as Ireland look to maintain their strong position in their qualification group.
“It is a different game when you are playing away from home in a very unfamiliar country,” she adds. “That is something for us that I think everyone is still up to standard and fitness.
“It is a complicated situation where you have to play a game outside of any league. We’re going to be going into these games knowing they are just as important as the rest.
“If you slip up here, which has happened in the last campaigns, it can be detrimental to the qualification process. It has happened before, so for us, as soon as June has come around we will be switched back on.
Delighted to attend the 2022 SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme Finals at the Aviva Stadium today. The 2022 SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme saw an incredible 1,081 schools taking part with 56,212 students getting involved. @SPARIreland @FAIreland #SPAR5s #spons pic.twitter.com/4eqCkWYwnO
— Louise Quinn (@louise_quinn4) May 17, 2022
“You should never underestimate any international team. It doesn’t matter what the score was, because we definitely caught them on a bad day. It is still something that we are going to be wary of.”
Louise Quinn was speaking at the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s National Finals today at the Aviva Stadium, which returned in physical form this year and saw an incredible 56,212 students involved from 1,081 schools.