Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland girls target third ahead of Norway clash


By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland will aim to bounce back from a hammering in Holland and earn maximum points at home to Norway in their latest women's World Cup qualifier tonight.

Alfie Wylie's girls were crushed 7-0 by the Netherlands in Eindhoven on Friday, ending their slim hopes of making it to next year's finals.

While the Dutch and the Republic of Ireland, who meet at Tallaght, fight it out for top spot in Group 3, Northern Ireland are targeting a third-place finish and that means overcoming Norway at Shamrock Park (7.45pm).

Norway are on six points from three games with fourth-placed Northern Ireland three behind having played a game more.

The visitors already defeated Northern Ireland 4-1 earlier in the campaign.

For Wylie's women it is a real test of character. Versus the Netherlands, the European Champions, they were outclassed. In the end they did well to keep the scoreline to seven.

They will face another well drilled outfit tonight with Norwegian midfielders Caroline Graham Jansen and Kristine Minde always determined to dictate the tempo. Forward Isabell Herlovsen, who has netted 52 goals in 115 internationals, is another for Northern Ireland to watch.

Goalkeeper Emma Higgins made some fine saves in the Netherlands and she may be called upon to shine again.

Wylie said: "This is another extremely difficult game coming just four days after we played the European champions."

He will be looking to Marissa Callaghan and Sarah McFadden to provide inspiration.

In Dublin, the Republic and Netherlands, both on 10 points, know that whoever wins their big clash will be hot favourites to finish as group winners and qualify for the 2019 finals.

Belfast Telegraph


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