Ireland 0 Nigeria 0 FT: Ireland conclude their World Cup with a point as Australia go through

Solid performance by Vera Pauw’s women but could not find a way through to score


Courtney Brosnan on that save: Yeah I think obviously an unbelievable cross into the box, I knew I needed to make a special save, I just threw my body on it, I wanted to keep us in the game.

Vera Pauw: It’s a fantastic feeling. We were in control, we’ve created chances. We need to get there to score, we have done that so much better than the early games. I think we can be really proud, we have had equal games against top 10 nations. Those players came out as very good players, they come out as world stars. They will get more contracts and opportunities and the next generation can step in.


96 mins: One last chance for Nigeria, Ajibade with the shot after some neat feet by Monday.

FULL-TIME: Ireland 0 Nigeria 0

That’s it then, far from a classic that one. But Ireland get their first ever point of the World Cup against strong opposition. Nigeria lacked much ambition once word got around about the score in Australia-Canada. Some good performances and the game will be remembered mostly for Courtney Brosnan’s wonder save against Kanu.


94 mins: One last sub for Ireland, Diane Caldwell makes her World Cup debut, on for Niamh Fahey. Great moment for Caldwell, although she would have liked more than two minutes of action.


90 mins: Seven minutes of added time as Ireland push on but can’t find a way through a strong Nigerian backline.


83 mins: McCabe crosses into a dangerous area and Nnadozie collides with Carusa, both are down injured. Finally subs as Agg and Payne come off for Marissa Sheva and Abbie Larkin.



76 mins: Corner for Ireland, same angle as her goal last week. It is not too far away, but lands on top of the net this time. She sure can whip those corners in.


73 mins: Ireland survive a goalmouth scramble after a corner. Another second half where they have tired and lacked some creative spark so far. Unlike the Canada game, Pauw has gone for the other extreme, no substitutions.


70 mins: Oshoala and Kanu off for Nigeria. Saving them for the next round? As it stands, Nigeria will go through unless Ireland suddenly go on a scoring spree. Katie McCabe is booked for a rash challenge on Payne. More good goalkeeping from Brosnan after another dangerous ball, she collects well.


67 mins: Brosnan sweeps up well outside of her box after a dangerous through ball. Australia have got a third goal against Canada! Canada crashing out of the World Cup.


64 mins: Chance for O’Sullivan! Throw-in by Carusa is taken down well and a driven pass to O’Sullivan in the box. Her touch is not the best though and her shot is blocked by the Nigerian defender.


Check out this save!


58 mins: McCabe with a great whipped ball into the box from a free-kick causes a bit of chaos with Quinn but Nigeria deal with the danger. Ireland have been sloppy this half though in general, following the trend of not playing well at the start of second halfs in this tournament.


51 mins: What a brilliant save by Courtney Brosnan! Echoes of Gordon Banks-Pele as she somehow finds a way to knock a powerful header from Kanu onto the bar, after a great cross by Payne. The follow-up Oshoala has a good chance but pulls the shot wide. Ireland survive.


47 mins: Early chance for Nigeria down the byline, headed away by Louise Quinn. Payne’s corner bizarrely goes straight out of play.


HALF-TIME: Ireland 0 Nigeria 0

Solid half from Ireland, played very well in parts and competed well without creating many clearcut opportunities. Will be encouraged they could win this, despite the threat from Nigeria up front.


Canada are two goals down to Australia. Another for Raso, the Olympic champions are in big trouble!


41 mins: A chance for Ireland but O’Sullivan can’t control the ball in the box after Fahey drives through from the back. Been a good performance by Ireland against Nigeria, who seem to be not unhappy with 0-0 given their approach so far.


36 mins: Good spell of possession for Ireland. Chance for Carusa from a flick on to the back post by Louise Quinn but straight at the keeper.


30 mins: The power of the Nigerians showed as O’Sullivan is overpowered in midfield in a good area. Alozie runs down the wing but her cross is coolly cut out by Connolly, who is passing the ball well from the back as well as defending well.


26 mins: McCabe finding pockets of space often in midfield often, all over the pitch. Nice play by O’Sullivan finds Payne overlapping on the right wing. It’s a good cross but just too far from Farrelly who can’t get a shot on target.


23 mins: Lovely play by Ireland, that old McCabe-O’Sullivan combination as McCabe flicks onto O’Sullivan who drives at the defence. O’Sullivan passes to Carusa in the box and she tries to cut it back to no avail.


20 mins: McCabe is fouled in a dangerous area by Ajibade. Connolly takes the free-kick, it’s into the keeper’s hands, she fumbles it at first but then retains the ball at the second attempt.


17 mins: A few bad passes by Ireland, just sloppy and putting pressure on themselves. Two good tackles though by Connolly to stop the danger, she has been much improved today so far.


14 mins: Great pressing by Ireland puts Nigeria under pressure but Nnadozie shows great composure to play Nigeria out. Big chance then for Nigeria! Bad mistake by Louise Quinn, just passes the ball straight to Kanu. Kanu plays in Oshoala who has too much pace for Quinn but blasts it wide from inside the box.


An early goal for Australia, which puts them on top of the group. Hayley Raso with the goal. Canada go behind early again and as it stands are going out of the tournament.


10 mins: Farrelly getting into dangerous areas and causing trouble with her technique. She wins a corner which Connolly takes. Nigeria’s keeper Nnadozie punches the ball away in the inswinger. Positive start by Ireland.


7 mins: Chance for Ireland for McCabe! Quick throw to Carusa, who crosses to Farrelly who takes a nice soft touch and lays off to McCabe on the run but she drags her shot right of the post.


3 mins: Katie McCabe getting high up the pitch early from wing back. Lily Agg puts pressure on Brosnan early with a loose pass but Brosnan successfully clears. Some bright play from Nigeria’s Payne - a Payne on each team - Toni dribbling quickly before her cross is overhit.


The teams are out on the pitch, time for the national anthems. Ireland definitely get top marks for effort in singing Amhrán na bhFiann in this World Cup, belting it out, even those qualifying through the grandparent rule.


There is more at stake for some of Ireland’s players than just winning today, in terms of impressing potential suitors for their next club as six players are unattached. Megan Connolly, Ruesha Littlejohn, Heather Payne and Lily Agg start. Mary Hannigan writes “But at least eight of the 23-strong World Cup squad will be playing with new clubs in the new campaign, six of them still looking for new employers. All change.”


On the Nigeria team, watch out for Asisat Oshoala, who comes into the side. She has scored 30 goals in 41 games for Nigeria and has been playing for Barcelona for four years. Chiamaka Nnadozie is a solid goalkeeper who plays for Paris FC and Rasheedat Ajibade is a very useful midfielder, notable for her blue hair, who plays for Atletico Madrid. Meanwhile Sam Kerr does not start for Australia against Canada in their crucial final group game. Sad to see one of the best players in the women’s game not available so far on home soil.


The official Ireland line-up, as previously reported by Gavin Cummiskey:

Ireland: Courtney Brosnan; Heather Payne, Niamh Fahey, Louise Quinn, Megan Connolly, Katie McCabe; Lily Agg, Ruesha Littlejohn; Sinead Farrelly, Denise O’Sullivan; Kyra Carusa.

Nigeria: Chiamaka Nnadozie; Michelle Alozie, Osinachi Ohale, Oluwatosin Demehin, Ashleigh Plumptre; Christy Ucheibe, Halimatu Ayinde; Rasheedat Ajibade, Toni Payne, Uchenna Kanu; Asisat Oshoala.

Just the one change for Nigeria, Asisat Oshoala starts up front instead of Onumonu Ifeoma.


So Japan have beaten Spain 4-0! What a performance by the Asian side and will move them into the conversation and potential winners of the tournament. Zambia have beaten Costa Rica 3-1 in the other game of the group. Meanwhile for Ireland:


Ireland’s World Cup journey has felt like a rebuke to everyone who has belittled women’s sport, writes Louise Lawless in a nice piece summing up the World Cup experience in Australia. “Ireland’s women will eventually have their own Italia ‘90, but until then we have McCabe’s corner goal and Australia 2023,” she writes.

Anyone who follows women in team sports in Ireland, whether that be soccer, rugby, football or camogie, is invariably used to empty stadiums, ill-fitting kits, little or no press coverage, games getting cancelled or moved to facilitate men’s games and, of course, the demeaning, derogatory, “nobody cares” comments. Even when you disregard the comment, it stings.

This Fifa Women’s World Cup, although not perfect, has felt like a balm to that burn.

—  Louise Lawless


Breaking team news from Gavin Cummiskey:

Ireland manager Vera Pauw has made two changes ahead of the last World Cup Group B match against Nigeria at Suncorp stadium in Brisbane with Lily Agg coming into midfield for Lucy Quinn, while Heather Payne has recovered from a hamstring issue so she replaces Áine O’Gorman at right wing back.

The changes appear to be an attempt to get Sinead Farrelly and Denise O’Sullivan higher up the pitch when Ireland attack.

Ireland: Courtney Brosnan; Heather Payne, Niamh Fahey, Louise Quinn, Megan Connolly, Katie McCabe; Lily Agg, Ruesha Littlejohn; Sinead Farrelly, Denise O’Sullivan; Kyra Carusa.


Meanwhile in Group C, shades of the men’s World Cup as a shock occurring with Japan giving one of the pre-tournament favourites Spain a lesson. Per The Athletic, before today’s game, Spain hadn’t conceded a goal in their last 544 minutes of action. Japan scored three in 45 minutes. It’s still 3-0 there with just under an hour gone. Both teams are through to the last 16, just playing for top position in the group.


So here are the group standings after two games:

One heavyweight football nation is going home as Ireland provide a nuggety subplot in Group B, writes soccer correspondent Gavin Cummiskey. Australia versus Canada, the hosts against the Olympic champions, should deliver the snapshot moment at this World Cup so far, with split screens from Melbourne and Suncorp at the ready.

Plain and simple, Ireland are out, but they can spoil the tournament for 26 million Aussies, 38 million Canadians or 213 million Nigerians.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of Ireland’s final game of the World Cup, against Nigeria at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Ireland are out of the tournament after losing their opening two games against Australia and Canada, but there is still a lot of pride to play for, and a first ever win at a World Cup. They also will have a large bearing on what happens in Group B. Today’s opponents Nigeria shocked the hosts Australia 3-2 in their previous game, leaving them on top of Group B on four points on goals scored. Canada are also on four points, with Australia on three points. There are a whole host of different permutations to consider but Nigeria know that avoiding defeat against Ireland will see them through to the last 16, and would leave either the hosts or the Olympic champions going home.

Ireland will be buoyed by their performance in the first half against Canada, where they took the lead through a direct Katie McCabe corner. While it is a dead rubber game for Ireland, a victory today would put a shine on the whole first experience of the Women’s World Cup and build on future tournaments. Kickoff is at 11pm.