Ireland need to park Dutch defeat for must-win clash with Scotland

Ireland skipper Katie Mullan says side ‘in a good place’ going into Monday’s game

Netherlands 4 Ireland 0

By any standards a 4-0 win is a beating and while the Irish women’s team absorb the Dutch masterclass after their first outing in Amsterdam, the team must pocket the schooling before Monday’s second game in the European Championships against Scotland (11.30 Irish Time, RTÉ 2).

While it was difficult to measure the team’s progress since 2018, when they last played the Dutch world champions, there were at least some positive noises coming from within the Irish camp.

Ireland has always targeted this second game and while there was little admission that a win over the Netherlands was ever likely, the team expect Scotland to provide the first piece of good news from the tournament.


If the ambition to stay on course for a place in next year’s World Cup or muscle into the medal positions, a win today is a must.

"I think anyone who watched both those games will see the improvement in us," said Irish captain Katie Mullan. "There's a few little things defensively where we get caught as a full team; those are the moments where they dominate and score and that's where the Dutch are so clinical.

“But there were times we really did have control, held the ball well and were able to accumulate passes. We’re in a good place going into the Scottish game.”

Aside from Anna O'Flanagan's early reverse side turn and jink at goal, which was nicely on target and hit the face protector of Dutch goalkeeper Josine Koning, Ireland rarely threatened their opponent's goal, an area they must improve against Scotland.

In the end the Dutch controlled the territory and tempo of the match with goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran heavily involved throughout. In the end two goals from Laurien Leurink along with strikes from Caia van Maasakker and Frédérique Matla did the damage for the world number one side.

But Scotland is a different matter. Ireland has recently had the upper hand and will surely draw on the meetings they had last month in Belfast. Ireland won 5-1 in the first of the series with Deirdre Duke, Róisín Upton, Zara Malseed, Michelle Carey and Nikki Evans scoring before they hit four goals in the second meeting with Evans, Sarah Hawkshaw, Malseed and O'Flanagan on target in a 4-1 win.

“We know for sure they will be a completely different team from the one we saw in Belfast a few weeks ago,” said Mullan.

“They have strong players and we will learn a lot from watching them play Spain. We know we have to control the game and the pace. If we take the energy we brought out there today against the Dutch, add a few more things to it in terms of our attack and we will be in a good place.”

Scotland have a world ranking that is lower than eighth-placed Ireland and sit at 22 in the word. That’s a wider gap in ranking points than between Ireland and the world number one Dutch. Ireland then face the world’s seventh-ranked side, Spain, on Wednesday in the final match of their pool.

NETHERLANDS: J Koning, M Pheninckx, L Leurink, M Keetels, C van Maasakker, F Matla, P Sanders, L Stam, M van Geffen, E de Goede, F Albers.

Subs: S Koolen, M Verschoor, L Nunnink, S van Gils, I Kappelle, P Dicke, A Veenendaal.

IRELAND: A McFerran, R Upton, N Evans, K Mullan, S McCay, L Tice, N Carroll, H McLoughlin, L Holden, S Hawkshaw, A O'Flanagan.

Subs: M Carey, M Frazer, C Watkins, N Daly, H Matthews, D Duke, L Murphy

Umpires: L Delforge (Bel), S Bockelmann (Ger).