Ireland women’s loss to Spain means all-or-nothing date with Scotland
Setback sees them in danger of falling out of top tier for first time
Ireland’s Chloe Watkins is challenged by Spain’s Anabel Flores during the European championship match at the Braxgata club, in Boom, Belgium. Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP.
Having fallen out of the medal race on Tuesday with a 3-0 loss against hosts Belgium, this latest setback sees them in danger of falling out of the top tier for the first time since the competition’s inception in 1984.
Berta Bonastre’s thunderbolt midway through the first half was the difference, the striker rounding on the ball with a superb backhand shot.
It was one of precious few highlights for either side under teeming rain that saw the pitch slow up markedly, reducing any rhythm.
For Ireland, after missing two early corner chances, their attack was blunt and lacking in direct, hard-running.
IRELAND: E Gray, C Sargent, A Speers, S McCay, M Frazer, N Carroll, C Watkins, N Atcheler, N Gray, A O’Flanagan, G Pinder. Subs: E Smyth, L Jacob, N Symmons, A O’Flynn, N Daly, N Small, G O’Flanagan