Northern Ireland’s faint hopes of qualifying for the Euro 2022 play-offs all but disappeared after a 2-0 defeat to Austria.
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Women’s Euro 2022
|Austria W||2-0||Northern Ireland W|
Goals: Schiechtl 19 – (1-0), Naschenweng 85 – (2-0).
|Zinsberger, Schiechtl, Wenninger, Dunst, Zadrazil, Schnaderbeck (Georgieva 45), Hobinger (Feiersinger 45), Billa (Makas 85), Puntigam, Hickelsberger-Fuller (Naschenweng 73), Hanshaw.||Burns, McKenna (Magee 73), Vance, McFadden, Nelson (McDaniel 85), McCarron, Callaghan (C McGuinness 85), Furness (Andrews 79), K McGuinness (Wilson 80), Wade, Holloway.|
Referee: Emikar Caldera.
Northern Ireland came out for this match knowing that there is no room for error, since in case of a loss, the team will not have a chance of reaching the playoffs. And even the 42 degree heat could not prevent this.
Minutes before the Northern Ireland players were due to take a break in the first half, Katarina Schichtl scored from close range from a Sarah Puntigam free kick before substitute Katarina Naschenweng ended the game late in the game.
The result means that the fate of Northern Ireland will be officially sealed if England later escapes defeat to Norway at the Amex Stadium.
The 22-year-old Austrian striker intercepted the ball early in the exchanges and then created two chances for striker Nicole Bill, one hitting the side net and the other being choked by goalkeeper Jackie Burns at the striker’s feet.
Northern Ireland rarely managed to get out of their half, but when they did, they created some chances. Lauren Wade and Kirsty McGuinness tried to score, but goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger managed to easily contain both shots.
Ireland managed to quell Austria’s offensive momentum early in the second period but struggled to create chances of their own. Wade put in another effort well above the Sinsberger bar, and there was next to nothing on either side before the hour mark.
For Austria, Dunst landed a shot from the edge of the box that slipped through Burns’ hands but hit the top of the Northern Ireland goal rather than inside. Substitute Laura Feiersinger delivered a shot right over the Northern Ireland goal as the game reached its final five minutes.
And the outcome – along with the fate of Northern Ireland – was finally decided.
Northern Ireland complete their Euro 2022 group stage campaign with a clash against tournament favourites England at St Mary’s on Friday evening, kick-off 8pm.
Austria take on Norway at Brighton’s Amex Stadium, also with an 8pm kick-off.