Ireland keep World Cup hopes alive with one-goal win over Croatia

Republic of Ireland 1 Croatia 0

Ireland keep World Cup hopes alive with one-goal win over Croatia

Republic of Ireland 1 Croatia 0

Denise O’Sullivan eighth international goal after 92 minutes kept Ireland’s hopes of making next year’s World cup very much alive.

It looked like the end of Ireland’s hopes of making next year’s World Cup in Canada as the Croats frustrated the hosts in Tallaght stadium.

Sue Ronan set her side out for goals in Tallaght stadium, introducing Siobhan Killeen for her first competitive senior start in a 4-3-3 formation.

The hosts had the better of the first half, though they never really tested the Croats. Denise O'Sullivan was unable to get enough power behind her header on nine minutes.

Croatia keeper Nicole Vuk showed good awareness on 28 minutes holding Stephanie Roche’s 35 yard drive as the visitors frustrated Ireland.

Ronan’s side spurned their limited first half opportunities, Siobhan Killeen and Stephanie Roche falling to hit the target from distance as the Croats closed ranks.

Winger Julie-Ann Russell was Ireland’s most creative player in the opening period. Her cross come shot was batted away by Vuk, only for Roche to blast the follow-up over.

The women in green dominated the opening exchanges of the second half, Russell opening the door on 49 minutes, Vuk quick to deny Denise O’Sullivan.

Russell a constant thorn in the Croat’s side probably should have had a penalty five minutes later, going down in the box under Hercignoja-Moulton’s trip.

It was well past the hour mark before Croatia had Emma Byrne under pressure. Half time Substitute Katarina Kolar’s 35 yard effort hitting the top of the bar.

Vuk’s player of the match performance was confirmed on 59 minutes saving low after Denise O’Sullivan turn and shot from inside the box.

The visitors closed out the game and limited Ireland throughout the second half, Stephanie Roche flashed a shot across goal that no green jersey could connect with.

Two minutes into additional time the breakthrough finally came, Stephanie Roche’s cross was headed back across goal by Dora Gorman for Denise O’Sullivan to tap home the winner.

“I think we deserved the win” said manager Sue Ronan afterwards. “We did everything right, we built up from the back right through the game.”

“We probably should have grabbed a few more, but we got the three points and that’s all that matters, doesn’t matter when you get it.”

Ireland are now third in group one and travel to second placed Russia on Thursday with just five points separating the teams.

Republic of Ireland: Byrne, O’Gorman, Quinn, Fahey, Duggan, Killeen (Littlejohn 66”), Gorman, Russell, Roche, D.O’Sullivan, F.O’Sullivan (Grant 90+5)

Subs not used: Reid-Burke, Caldwell, McDonnell, Smyth DeBurca, Grant

Croatia: Vuk, Hercigonja-Moulton, Nevrkla, Balog, Zigic, Lojna (Stvoric 90+2), Petrovic (Kolar HT), Baban, Salek(Sundov 75”), Gaiser, Josack.

Subs not used: Bacic, Andrlic

Referee: Karolina Radzik-Johan (Poland)

Attendance: 1,046

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