“We knew they are going to make it very tough for us, and make it physical.”
Ireland had already secured a place in the World Cup playoffs, in the European section, after their win over Finland. Beating Slovakia was merely the cherry on top.
It was a cagey enough affair, with Lisa Fallon declaring during RTE’s half-time analysis, that the game was ‘like a chess match, but where no-one wanted the ball’. Played out in front of only 498 fans, at the Slovakian National Training Centre, it was a case of arrive, get the job done, go home.
Ireland were restricted to long-range pops in the first half but, on a rare occasions where they burst into the home side’s box, some Denise O’Sullivan class made all the difference.
Denise O'Sullivan is such a gem! ⚽️?? pic.twitter.com/at3LMmtrkq
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) September 6, 2022
Katie McCabe comes in for rough treatment
Ireland were the better side, over the course of the 90 minutes, and threaten as they might, Slovakia’s final ball was often painfully lacking.
Despite the hosts being out of the playoffs mix, there was still some bite to the tie. Megan Campbell needed treatment on the pitch after catching a stray arm in the face, while Ireland captain Katie McCabe was left in as bundle after one particularly rash challenge.
“Kicked up and down the pitch today,” McCabe remarked, in her post-match interview. “But we knew that is what Slovakia are going to do to you.
“We knew they are going to make it very tough for us, and make it physical. But we love that physicality and we knew that if we had that control that we’d come out on top.”
'Was kicked up and down the pitch today but that's what Slovakia are going to do to you' – @Katie_McCabe11 reflects on the 1-0 win with @CorkTOD #rtesoccer #SVKIRL
? Watch – https://t.co/aR8cFzAlWf
? Listen – https://t.co/pKRq9dYQiN
? Updates – https://t.co/TYLVoUyJ72 pic.twitter.com/9RiyoJLLmV
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) September 6, 2022
Ireland now advance to the second round of the World Cup playoffs, in early October, and Katie McCabe set the tone for what lies ahead.
“One game to make [the World Cup in] Australia,” she said. “It’s going to be a massive, massive game – probably the biggest in our history.”