FIFA World Cup 2019 Qualifier Report: Republic of Ireland 0 - 2 NetherlandsTue, Apr 10 2018
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The Republic of Ireland suffered their first World Cup qualifying defeat as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to European champions the Netherlands in front of a record 4,047 at Tallaght Stadium.
Early goals from Lineth Beerensteyn and Sherida Spitse, from the penalty spot, saw the visitors to a deserved but workmanlike victory.
The Girls in Green trailed from the 11th minute and, try as they might, they failed to threaten the Netherlands goal significantly and finished without a shot on target.
Ireland coach Colin Bell made one change to the side that beat Slovakia 2-1 on Friday, with 17-year-old Amy Boyle-Carr debuting in place of Ruesha Littlejohn.
Netherlands coach Sarina Wiegman made two switches, as Beerensteyn and Renate Jansen replaced Vivianne Miedema and Liza van der Most.
Ireland set out their stall early with a defensive set-up that saw Megan Connolly with a floating defensive role in a midfield five.
The Dutch showed their colours early on too, peppering the Ireland box with diagonal balls as they sought to test the perennially uncertain Marie Hourihan in the Ireland goal.
From one such diagonal ball came the game's first chance, as Diane Caldwell could only flick on one cross, Lieke Martens volleyed over the bar.
A strong run from Leanne Kiernan, starting alone up front for Ireland, saw her brought down just inside the Dutch half.
Katie McCabe took the ball on as advantage was played, and she too was cut down on the edge of the box. Megan Connolly lined up the free kick, but she couldn't beat the wall.
The first indication of the Dutch aerial threat came with eight minutes played, as centre-half Stephanie van der Gragt flicked a corner just past the post.
Further evidence arrived three minutes later as McCabe was caught in possession on the edge of her box, and Renate Jansen played in a perfect cross for Linth Beerensteyn to head home.
It was a poor goal to concede and particularly galling for Colin Bell's side, who had set their stall out to be solid without the ball and use it productively on the rare occasion they do.
Kiernan's pace was proving Ireland's one positive outlet, and she skinned Siri Worm down the right before driving infield and looked ready to shoot when the full back recovered to concede a corner.
That positivity was again undone in the simplest of fashions as a square ball over the top found Danielle van de Donk on the run, and Caldwell stuck out a lazy arm to hold her back.
The contact started and finished outside the box, but after the Arsenal player threw herself onto the ground in the box, referee Stephanie Frappart pointed to the spot.
Her assistant on the near side appeared to be in a perfect decision to judge and, between them, they ruled it to be a penalty, and Spitse sent Hourihan the wrong way from the spot.
Ireland continued to find some joy on the flanks, however, and the Dutch were fortunate to get the benefit of the doubt when McCabe was scythed down on the edge of their penalty box.
Spitse's furious drive from 35 yards arrowed past Hourihan and cannoned back off the base of the post as the Dutch continued to move forward.
Beerensteyn headed a Jansen cross wide at the near post before the Dutch had the ball in the net again, through van de Sanden, but it was somewhat dubiously ruled out for offside.
Hourihan continued to look shaky in the Ireland goal, and she shovelled a deep cross nervously behind as Ireland looked to get in at half time with only a two-goal deficit.
She redeemed herself after half time, tipping a Dominique Janssen free kick, which was bound for the top corner, onto the crossbar.
And she showed good reflexes to deny can de Sanden with her foot and van de Donk with her hands as the Dutch twice exposed Ireland on the flanks.
Ireland did look to force things as the game creaked to a close, and did have one clear break down the right, but Ireland's star performer, O'Sullivan, couldn't pick out a player in the box and the Dutch ran down the clock.
Republic of Ireland: Marie Hourihan; Sophie Perry, Louise Quinn, Diane Caldwell, Karen Duggan; Niamh Fahey, Megan Connolly (Ruesha Littlejohn 73), Denise O'Sullivan, Katie McCabe, Amy Boyle Carr (Amber Barrett 46) ; Leanne Kiernan.
Subs not used: Amanda Budden (gk), Niamh Prior, Isibeal Atkinson, Roma McLaughlin, Dearbhaile Beirne.
Booked: Diane Caldwell (23), Megan Connolly (43), Katie McCabe (52).
Netherlands: Sari van Veenendaal; Renate Jansen, Stefanie van der Gragt, Dominique Janssen, Siri Worm; Jackie Groenen, Sherida Spitse, Danielle van de Donk; Lieke Martens, Shanice van de Sanden (Jill Roord 69), Lineth Beerensteyn.
Subs not used: Siri Worm (58).
Booked: Jennifer Vreugdenhil (gk), Desiree van Lunteren, Kelly Zeeman, Anouk Dekker, Vivianne Miedema, Merel van Dongen.
Referee: Stephanie Frappart (France).
Attendance: 4,047 (official).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Lineth Beerensteyn (Netherlands).