Louise Quinn unfazed by Dutch ahead of World Cup qualifier
Player confident she will fare better in one-on-one battles with Vivianne Miedema
Republic of Ireland defender Louise Quinn during training ahead of their clash with the Netherlands. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Netherlands v Republic of Ireland, 2019 Women’s World Cup Qualifier – Group Three
Venue: Goffert Stadium, Nijmegen, Netherlands.
Kick off: 7pm Irish time.
On TV: Eir sport.
Forever the pragmatist, Colin Bell has worked on a number of situations his Republic of Ireland women’s team could encounter during tonight’s visit to European Champions the Netherlands, including the concession of an early goal at a throbbing Goffert Stadium in Nijmegen.
“The Netherlands are very open and honest about how they play; we will expect their passing to be executed with superb accuracy. They’ve got weaknesses too and it’s about us making the most of them. In those one-on-one battles, I’d put money on myself to win.
“I don’t know why but this is the best I’ve felt facing one of the big nations. I realise we’re missing some key players like Megan Campbell but there’s still a lot of talent there.”
Bell’s side will require all that ability, and probably a bit of luck in front of a 12,000-capacity crowd, to stop the Dutch racking up a 12th victory in succession. While the nations are level in their World Cup qualification group from winning their opening pair of qualifiers, it is Norway rather than Ireland fancied to push the Dutch for the one automatic place at the 2019 showpiece in France.
As well as Miedema, the 21-year-old seeking her 50th international goal tonight, the Dutch have three other Arsenal players in their ranks and a sprinkling from the cream of European clubs. Barcelona’s Lieke Martens, recently named Fifa Player of the Year following a stellar Euros, will play just off Miedema, with Shanice van de Sanden of Champions League holders Lyon another attacking threat to Ireland.
“I’ve been trying to get inside the heads of the Dutch girls at Arsenal recently but they haven’t taken it well,” explained Quinn, set to win her 60th cap tonight.
“They haven’t wanted to talk much about this game. I can’t see us getting overawed by the occasion of playing in a full stadium. A lot of us played in front of a 25,000 crowd against the USA, plus our goalkeeper Marie Hourihan played in an FA Cup final at Wembley last year, and the Dutch crowd are always nice. This won’t be a hostile atmosphere.”
As only the best four of the second-placed teams across the seven groups clinch a play-off, every point counts for Ireland. Failing to accrue any tonight won’t be fatal once the signs of amassing more during the remainder of the campaign are evident.
Republic Of Ireland (probable): M Hourihan (Manchester City); S Perry (Brighton and Hove Albion), L Quinn (Arsenal), D Caldwell (SC Sand), H Scott (Reading); N Fahey (Bordeaux), K Duggan (UCD Waves); L Kiernan (Shelbourne), D O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), K McCabe (Glasgow City); A Barrett (Peamount Utd).