World Cup 2019 qualification – Group 3: Norway sink Republic of Ireland twice in five days

All the action from June’s qualifiers in Group 3.

Republic of Ireland 0-2 Norway

Battling out for top spot with the Netherlands, Norway picked up three important points in Dublin against an Ireland team who had proved to be a stumbling block for their group-rivals. A Lisa-Marie Utland double enough to halt the hosts in their tracks at the Tallaght Stadium, leaving World Cup qualification just out of reach.

Northern Ireland 0-5 Netherlands

Having already seen her teammates denied better chances, Lineth Beerensteyn found the key to unlock the home defence eight minutes before the break, her low shot from just outside the box slipping into Jackie Burns’ bottom corner. The second half bringing about a torrent from the visitors, Daniëlle van de Donk befitting from Shanice van de Sanden’s low cross on the hour, the Arsenal woman firing the ball into the roof of the net. Two fast became three when four minutes later, van de Sanden wriggled away from two defenders before wrapping the ball inside of the far post. Sherida Spitse added a fourth ten minutes later, converting from the spot with gusto after Beerensteyn had been eased over in the box. The scoring completed by Jackie Groenen in the last minute of regular time, the Frankfurt woman dancing through the defence as she completed a one-two with Beerensteyn before firing home.

Norway 1-0 Republic of Ireland

A team who had already shown their stubborn nature so far in qualifying, Ireland weren’t giving an inch in Stavanger, Caroline Graham Hansen’s first half penalty all to separate to the two at the break. A string of saves from Marie Hourihan and a couple of goal line clearances from her defence enough to deny the hosts a second and much-needed cushion, though without their own breakthrough at the other end there was little the visitors could do.

Netherlands 1-0 Slovakia

Having a torrid time so far in qualification, a point-less Slovakia side found themselves moments away from their first point in the most unlike of locations, the European champions held until stoppage time. Despite having over 20 shots, with over half on target, the hosts found themselves unable to break the deadlock inside of 90 minutes for the second time in this qualification cycle. Having penned the visitors back into their own box, the Oranje were fast running out of time until Lieke Martens found a moment of inspiration, curling the ball through the clustered box from 20-yards, letting it arc up and back down into the far corner.

The point a vitial one that ensures a draw in their last qualification match – against second-placed Norway – will see them through to the World Cup (should Norway not drop points in Slovakia).

Group 3 as it stands (Credit: UEFA)
Group 3 as it stands (Credit: UEFA)