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Canada Women vs Republic of Ireland Women. Women's World Cup Group B.

HBF ParkAttendance17,065.

Canada Women 2

  • M Connolly (50th minute own goal)
  • A Leon (53rd minute)

Republic of Ireland Women 1

  • K McCabe (4th minute)

Canada 2-1 Republic of Ireland: Girls in Green knocked out of Women's World Cup after Canada comeback

Match report as Katie McCabe curled home a direct corner to score Republic of Ireland's first goal at a major international tournament; Megan Connolly's own goal and Adriana Leon's strike sees Canada move top of Group B; Ireland are knocked out of Women's World Cup

Canada's Adriana Leon, center, celebrates after scoring her side's second goal during the Women's World Cup Group B soccer match between Canada and Ireland in Perth, Australia, Wednesday, July 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Gary Day)
Image: Canada's Adriana Leon celebrates after scoring her side's winner against Ireland

Despite scoring their first major tournament goal, the Republic of Ireland were knocked out of the Women's World Cup after Canada came from behind to win 2-1 in Group B.

The Girls in Green made a dream start in Perth, following on from an impressive tournament debut against Australia. It was none other than Katie McCabe (4) who curled in a direct corner, writing her name further into the Republic of Ireland history books.

Vera Pauw's side continued to dominate a disjoined and lacklustre Canada, but were masters of their own downfall as Megan Connolly (45+4) poked the ball into her own net for an equaliser.

Canada manager Bev Priestman - a former Lionesses assistant manager - made three half-time substitutions, which instantly improved her team. It proved the difference as Adriana Leon slotted the ball past Courtney Brosnan (53), sending Canada top of Group B ahead of tomorrow's other match between Australia and Nigeria.

For Ireland, the defeat sees them exit their first World Cup at the group stages, although they have one more chance to earn their first points against Nigeria in their final group game on Monday.

Ireland's Katie McCabe reacts after missing a chance during the Women's World Cup Group B soccer match between Canada and Ireland in Perth, Australia, Wednesday, July 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Gary Day)
Image: Ireland's Katie McCabe reacts after missing a chance against Canada

Republic of Ireland captain McCabe told ITV Sport after the game: "It's bittersweet. It's nice to score, but it's the result that matters. I'm heartbroken for the girls because I think we deserved more from the game.

"To captain these girls is an absolute honour and privilege. Leading them out against Australia, and today, the girls really stepped up.

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"I'm so proud of each and every one of them. We've had our first experience of a big tournament now and we're going to be hungry for more."

How Canada came from behind to beat Ireland

It took just four minutes for the Republic of Ireland to find the net as they began brightly in Perth. McCabe lined up a corner and, as Canada scrambled to mark the Girls in Green, the ball swung straight into the far corner, sparking scenes of wild celebration with the Ireland captain at the centre.

They looked good for their lead too, but Priestman's side could have levelled just before the hour. Kadeisha Buchanan's flicked header found Vanessa Gillies, but she lifted her toe-poke over the crossbar from point-blank range.

Player ratings

Canada: Sheridan (6), Riviere (7), Buchanan (6), Gilles (7), Lawrence (7), Quinn (7), Fleming (6), Grosso (6), Huitema (7), Viens (6), Leon (7).

Subs used: Zadorksy (6), Sinclair (7), Schmidt (7), Lacasse (7), Chapman (n/a).

Republic of Ireland: Brosnan (7), Connolly (6), Louise Quinn (7), Fahey (7), McCabe (8), Littlejohn (6), O'Sullivan (6), O'Gorman (6), Farrelly (6), Carusa (7), Lucy Quinn (6).

Subs used: Larkin (6), Sheva (6), Barrett (6), Agg (6), Atkinson (6).

Player of the match: Katie McCabe.

Buchanan was involved again soon after, but at the other end this time. She was too easily beaten by Kyra Carusa once again, but with no support, the Ireland forward's attempted shot was pushed away easily by goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan.

Helped by the torrential conditions, Canada levelled in the fourth minute of first-half injury time. Julia Grosso played in a low cross from the left, which Connolly stuck out a foot to meet, sliding along the slick surface as she did so. The ball then pinged off her foot and past Brosnan.

Katie McCabe (centre) acknowledges the crowd after firing Ireland ahead from a corner in their World Cup game against Canada
Image: Katie McCabe celebrates after firing Ireland ahead direct from a corner in their World Cup game against Canada

After a poor first half from her side, Priestman made three changes at the break, giving Canada far more purpose. Brosnan made a superb save from Jordyn Huitema's early effort, but was soon beaten by a fine Leon finish as she collected Sophie Schmidt's pass and after a brilliant first touch, slotted low past the goalkeeper.

Canada continued to pepper the Ireland goal with chances, with Brosnan needing to be at her best to keep them from conceding a third. The Girls in Green threatened at times at the other end too, although with less ferocity than the first half.

Republic of Ireland team news

  • Louise Quinn was fit to start for the Republic of Ireland after wearing a protective boot in the build-up to the game.
  • Ireland were also forced into a change during the warm-up as Heather Payne pulled up with a hamstring issue. She was replaced by Aine O'Gorman in the XI.

McCabe had one of the best Ireland chances with around 10 minutes left to play as she went on a mazy run from the right wing, by-passing each defender. She took her shot, but it was deflected just wide.

It was an end-to-end finish to an entertaining encounter, but despite another fine showing, it ultimately ended in defeat and a World Cup exit for the Girls in Green.

Ireland's Megan Connolly scored an own goal on the stroke of half-time to give Canada the equaliser
Image: Ireland's Megan Connolly scored an own goal on the stroke of half-time to give Canada the equaliser

McCabe: We took confidence from Australia game

Republic of Ireland captain Katie McCabe to ITV Sport:

"We took a lot of confidence from that second half against Australia. We decided to be braver going forwards and back ourselves a bit more. We know we have quality and pace, especially in the flanks.

"We wanted to start the game with a lot of energy and get in Canada's faces as much as possible, pile on the pressure, and I thought we did that. It's about capitalising on that as well.

"We felt like we were in control and then there's an unfortunate deflection off Megan Connolly. It's a sucker punch just before half time. Even then, we felt second half we can push for another goal."

'Ireland showed best side'

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Sky Sports News’ Jess Creighton reflects on the Republic of Ireland’s exit from the Women’s World Cup, saying they must now use the platform to look forward to the future after two spirited showings.

Sky Sports reporter Jess Creighton speaking from Perth:

"Football can be such a cruel sport. I've interviewed Katie McCabe a lot and I've never seen her like that. She was crestfallen - totally gutted the team are now out of their debut World Cup.

"There are a lot of positives to take. They've played the tournament co-hosts, who had tens of thousands of fans supporting them, then fought well against this Canadian team - let's not forget they are ranked seventh in the world.

"No shame in losing or Australia or Canada, particularly in the manner Ireland did it. They were brave and courageous, and although they are known for being physical and defensive, we saw a different side to them.

"They believed something special was possible here. They believed they could progress from the group. All Ireland players were in tears when the final whistle blew and their World Cup dream was confirmed as over but they'll have to pick themselves up quick - there's a final group game against Nigeria to contend."

Priestman: We can be unstoppable

Canada head coach Bev Priestman:

"I said at the end, 'It can be the making of us.' It's tough. We wobbled in the first half, our bravery wasn't there and I felt we played a little bit scared.

"I reminded them that we're Olympic champions and that we've got to take a step forward and be brave and get after this, and it's not going to be easy. The character, the quality, the experience that came about in the second half, that's the type of performance that we need.

"When we play brave, we can be unstoppable. I think it took it took a rocket in the first half and half-time to really make us believe that and I think when this team plays with bravery and belief, we can do what we did in that the second half."

What's next?

Group B returns on Monday July 31. Canada face Australia at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium while the Republic of Ireland take on Nigeria at Brisbane Stadium; both games kick off at 11am.

What is the schedule?

The group stage has begun and runs over a two-week period finishing on August 3. Group winners and runners-up progress to the round of 16, which takes place from August 5 to August 8.

The quarter-finals, which will be held in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, are scheduled for August 11 and 12.

The first semi-final will then be played on August 15 in Auckland, with the other semi-final taking place on August 16 at the Accor Stadium in Sydney, which will then host the final on August 20.

A third-place play-off will be played the day before the final on August 19 in Brisbane.

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