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Ireland will fight on despite slim hopes of World Cup progress: Katie Mullan


Ireland ace Róisín Upton takes a stick to the face

Ireland ace Róisín Upton takes a stick to the face

©INPHO/Frank Uijlenbroek

Ireland ace Róisín Upton takes a stick to the face

Ireland captain Katie Mullan admitted they had targeted their game against Chile as one they could get points from, but instead their hopes of reaching the World Cup knockout stages are hanging by a thread after they fell to a 1-0 defeat to the debutants at the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen.

It means they need to win today against Germany and then hope goal difference works in their favour later when Chile meet the Netherlands.

It was a day in which Ireland could not get the best out of their penalty corner attack as 10 set-pieces went unconverted while the South American side whipped home the winner with 12 minutes to go via Denise Krimerman Losada.

“This was our target game. We knew we needed to get a victory in that game. That was where we wanted to get points from,” said captain Mullen.

“I suppose we’ll look inwards first and look at our own performances to make improvements (against Germany).

“The key is that we’ve an opportunity to turn this around, so we have to have all our focus on that now.”

The first three quarters were scoreless with Ireland unable to make full use of six penalty corners while Chile were also indisciplined, spending a third of the quarter short-handed due to cards.

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Sarah Torrans deflected a first-minute chance into the bottom corner but Mullan’s cross from the left was deemed to have hit her back-stick.

Mullan then had a backhand shot test Claudia Schuler before the South American side endured their first sin-binnings with less than 10 minutes gone as passions threatened to boil over.

The first-quarter break allowed things to settle and Chile did pick off a few strong counters with Domenica Ananias’ cross almost turned in by a diving Paula Valdivia.

But Hannah McLoughlin went closest to breaking the deadlock before the first-half interval when she turned on her reverse-side and clipped a shot that nicked the outside of the left post.

With so much at stake, the third quarter became scrappier and increasingly tense with the play more and more fractious. Chile had two corners fall their way but Ayeisha McFerran and her defensive numbers closed the angles while Francisca Tala’s mid-circle shot was just wide.

But the game turned with 12 minutes to go when Chile picked off yet another set-piece and this time, Krimerman Losada slapped hard and true down the left channel to hit the backboard.

The Green Army responded immediately, winning three more corners to no avail while Zara Malseed had a trio of shots on goal, all defended by desperate defensive sticks.

Life got harder still when Lena Tice was shown a yellow card for a foul on halfway and Róisín Upton took a blow to the head.

“We’ll throw the kitchen sink at it and we’ll give it everything. We don’t want our World Cup journey to end and in order for that to happen we have to put on a performance,” added Mullan.

“I think you’ll see a real Irish heart and fight in that game and I’m looking forward to it already.”

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