The footballing Gods giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other.
Vera Pauw’s Ireland side drew 0-0 with China at Estadio Nuevo Mirador in Algeciras, Spain, this afternoon. They were denied what looked to be a clear and easy goal in the second half of their World Cup warm-up.
Ireland got their first proper test of 2023 when facing off against a China side that will be in England’s World Cup group, in Australia and New Zealand, this summer.
The match was short of clear-cut scoring chances but Ireland had the most to be aggrieved about when Katie McCabe swung in a free-kick from the right wing. Louise Quinn was one of two Irish players looking to get a touch on the cross but the ball went in off China goalkeeper Xu Huan.
As Ireland reeled off in celebration, a whistle was blown for a foul on the China No.1 but it was a harsh call. Replays showed there was minimal contact with Xu Huan.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) February 22, 2023
Ireland line up USA double-header
China had a goal ruled out, too, for handball while the women in green gave out debuts to Aoife Mannion, Deborah-Anne De La Harpe and Marissa Sheva against a side ranked 14th in the world.
Earlier in the day, it was confirmed the Irish team would play a double-header of friendlies against the USA, in April. Vera Pauw will bring her squad to the United States for a 10-day camp and play the reigning world champions on April 8 (Austin, Texas) and April 11 (St Louis, Missouri).
The USA are ranked No.1 in the world so it will be a stern test for Ireland in the lead-up to their first ever World Cup. They are also scheduled to play Zambia, on June 22, and France, on July 6, before setting off for the tournament.