Republic of Ireland defender, Louise Quinn, has expressed caution regarding the formidable threat posed by Nigeria as the Irish national team braces for their final group stage encounter against the Falcons in Brisbane on Monday, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
After facing defeats against Australia and Canada, Ireland’s hopes of advancing to the knockout stages have been dashed. Meanwhile, Nigeria has been on an impressive trajectory and appears to be cruising towards the last 16, especially after their stunning victory over hosts Australia in their recent outing. Quinn is well aware that her team faces a tough challenge.
“How they’re even ranked the fourth seed in the group I don’t know because they are an excellent, excellent team. We knew that we wanted to be able to come into this game, in terms of progressing through the group, to really have something to play for, but for us, there’s still so much that we want to achieve and that we want to do,” the 33-year-old conveyed her thoughts to Sky Sports.
Despite their inability to advance, the Irish squad is not giving up. Quinn highlighted their determination to make history by earning points and disrupting the group standings. “We want to still make the history of getting points, really mixing up this group for us. We’re still fully concentrated on that,” she asserted.
Complimenting the Nigerian team’s performance, Quinn acknowledged their excellence in the tournament thus far. She recognized the Falcons’ prowess in their two previous games and acknowledged the uphill battle ahead for her side saying, “But they’ve been excellent, they’ve proved it in their two games. We have our work cut out with them.”
However, Quinn also expressed confidence in Ireland’s ability to pose a challenge to the top teams, as they have demonstrated their mettle against Australia and Canada. She warned Nigeria to be vigilant, saying, “But, at the same time, we’ve shown against the two top sides in this group as well, Australia and Canada, that they’re going to have to beware of us in a lot of ways.”
Nigeria currently leads Group B, narrowly ahead of Canada based on goals scored, while Australia, who will face Canada, follows closely one point behind. Ireland is yet to secure any points in the group.
In terms of injuries, Ireland has no fresh concerns, and they are hopeful that Heather Payne will be available for the upcoming match after sitting out the Canada game due to a hamstring problem.