Talks have already begun between the FAI and Vera Pauw on a contract extension for the manager of the Irish women’s team.
The move follows UEFA’s decision to put back the 2021 Euro finals in England until 2022 and the more immediate impact of the coronavirus pandemic, in terms of the postponement of games, on Ireland’s qualifying campaign.
Pauw insists that the contract situation is not any kind of distraction for her.
“Not at all,” she said. “I am probably very pragmatic in that it’s just something that needs to be arranged. I’ve got no worries at all. No, it doesn’t distract me at all. It’s not even in my mind. It will be arranged.”
On the impact of the Euro finals being put back a year, Pauw said: “Everything is moved forward so we will get a congestion of games later on because the World Cup qualifying matches will start while preparing for a tournament – if we qualify.
“So our focus is first on getting the qualification and getting our (three remaining) games planned, because that is not done yet, and making sure we qualify for 2022. We just take it the way it is and if things change again, then we adapt again. I don’t see it as a problem, I just see it as the circumstances we have.”
Currently top of the Group 1 table, Ireland were due to play favourites Germany away in April before the pandemic put paid to that game and also to a scheduled June trip to Ukraine.
But Pauw maintains that any potential loss of momentum, on the back of two successive victories for Ireland, should not be an issue when those yet to be re-arranged games – followed by Germany’s visit to Dublin which is still provisionally set for September - finally do come around.
“If you look at all the positive feedback that we get from the people in Ireland, I think when that game comes, the stadium will be packed because everybody wants to support us in these difficult times,” she said. “I truly have no doubt that Irish people will come out and support us and will maybe even be more fanatic to be there for us.
“The home games are so important. We get such a boost from the atmosphere in Tallaght Stadium – though whether we play all the games there is not decided yet – but the vibe that you get, and the true support from the crowd, pulls us over difficult moments. It is really something very, very special.”
But if it turns out that some or all of those games have to be played behind closed doors – as was her team’s most recent qualifier, a 3-0 win in Montenegro - Pauw said it’s just something else the Irish will have to deal with.
“If that’s the situation, it would be a shame, but we will play the games like that," she said.