Football

Ireland's Euro Hopes Teetering On The Brink After Hardly Believable Ukraine Loss

Ireland's Euro Hopes Teetering On The Brink After Hardly Believable Ukraine Loss

Ireland's European Championships hopes have taken a major blow this evening, with Vera Pauw's side falling to an incredibly unfortunate 1-0 defeat against Ukraine.

The Irish headed into the game knowing that a draw would guarantee second spot in the group, but a combination of missed chances and bad luck condemned Ireland to a loss in Kiev.

Ireland certainly started the better of the two sides, putting the Ukrainians under fierce pressure right from the first whistle. They won three corners inside the opening four minutes, a couple of which caused problems for the opposition.

Katie McCabe came close to scoring the opener in the 16th minute, with her free-kick clipping the top of the crossbar.

However, it would be Ukraine that would take the lead despite Ireland's strong start. It was a gift of a goal, with Aine O'Gorman's back pass was misread by goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan and finding its way into the back of the net.

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Ireland almost had the perfect response.

Within a few minutes of the goal, Denise O'Sullivan was taken down in the opposition box and a penalty was awarded. Unfortunately, Katie McCabe's spot kick would rebound off the crossbar.

The Irish were the only side looking likely to grab a goal before halftime. Rianna Jarrett came very close to doing just that, but her effort was cleared off the line by a Ukrainian defender. The home side would take a 1-0 lead into the interval.

The opening exchanges of the second half were much of the same. Ukraine struggled to even get the ball out of their own half, with Ireland piling on the pressure.

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They missed a number of opportunities to get the game back on level terms, with the home side defending very deep. In truth, the Ukrainians hardly had a shot in the entire game.

Louise Quinn had a golden opportunity in the final moments, but she was unable to steer her header under the crossbar. Unfortunately, that was to be the final chance.

Ukraine would come away 1-0 winners, despite being thoroughly outplayed in every facet of the game. Vera Pauw's side can consider themselves incredibly unlucky, but such are the margins at the top level.

This defeat leaves Ireland in a precarious position in the group.

With their final game being against the world's number two ranked team in Germany, they could be depending on results elsewhere to secure a play-off spot.

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Ireland would need to beat the Germans to guarantee second spot in the group.

Ukraine will face Greece away and Montenegro at home in their final two games, with two wins enough to secure a place in the play-offs. The first of those fixtures will take place on October 27th, with their sure to be plenty of interested viewers from this part of the world.

Ireland may require a bit of luck, but their hopes of reaching a first ever European Championships are not over yet. Here's hoping things go their way.

SEE ALSO: Ireland's Nathan Collins Has Farcical Stoke City Red Card Overturned

Gary Connaughton

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