History made as Ireland secure famous victory over Scotland to seal World Cup qualification

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History Made As Ireland Secure Famous Victory Over Scotland To Seal World Cup Qualification History Made As Ireland Secure Famous Victory Over Scotland To Seal World Cup Qualification
2023 FIFA Women's World Cup Play-off, Hampden Park, Scotland 11/10/2022 Scotland vs Republic of Ireland WNT Ireland’s Amber Barrett celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates as she gestures to the black armband worn in memory of those affected by the tragedy in Creeslough in Co. Donegal Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
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The Republic of Ireland will play at the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time next year after a famous 1-0 triumph over Scotland in their do-or-die qualifying tie in Hampden Park on Tuesday night.

Donegal's Amber Barrett struck low into the bottom corner on the 72nd minute, leading Ireland to victory.

Switching the ball from her left foot to right, the striker’s poise was validated by a superb languid finish across Lee Alexander into the far corner.

Into a moment of joy came one of sorrow – the Donegal woman sinking to her knees, pointing to the blank armband donned to commemorate victims of last weekend’s Creeslough tragedy in home county.

In the first half, Courtney Brosnan made a critical penalty save to deny Caroline Weir and keep the scores level.

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Speaking to RTÉ Sport with a Donegal flag draped around her shoulders, Barrett dedicated the victory to the victims of the Creeslough tragedy, "those 10 beautiful souls".

Earlier, results elsewhere meant a win for Ireland in Glasgow would secure qualification.

Vera Pauw's side were helped to automatic qualification as Iceland lost 4-1 to Portugal after extra-time.

Switzerland will join Ireland in the draw, after they beat Wales 2-1 after extra-time in Zurich.

Manager Pauw said she couldn't believe what her team had just achieved.

Ireland started brightly: they needed to wait just 30 seconds for one of the most potent threats, Megan Campbell’s throw-ins, to be unleashed. The pace and power on the delivery has over the years caused mayhem against the likes of Germany and Finland.

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Scotland were similarly rattled, allowing the ball break to Lily Agg, who saw her close-range shot blocked, as did McCabe on the rebound.

Midfield shaped up to the key battleground and the battle of former Glasgow City teammates Denise O’Sullivan and Erin Cuthbert was an intriguing subplot. A crunching interception by the Corkwoman two minutes in left Cuthbert on the turf and Ireland on the break, yet Payne’s decision to shoot early was futile, for Lee Alexander dealt comfortably with the 30-yard floater.

Cuthbert was lucky to avoid a booking after scything down McCabe on 10 minutes but it signalled a shift from the early pattern.

West Ham’s Lisa Evans began to bomb on from the right-back, necessitating an opportune intervention by Louise Quinn inside the box and a moment of class by Caroline Weir initiated an penalty on 12 minutes.

Real Madrid’s playmaker cut a subdued presence till the point her pass unhinged the Ireland defence for Fiona Brown to dart into the box and drill in a low cross.

Martha Thomas was first to react, the Manchester United forward’s shot crashing off the crossbar but Swiss referee Staubli noticed the deflection came via Niamh Fahey’s arm.

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A booking for the culprit and a penalty for the hosts but a moment to savour for Courtney Brosnan who anticipated Weir’s spot-kick angling to her left.

Her save was the latest step of resurgence for the American-born stopper after starting the campaign burdened by questions about her worthiness for the job.

That miss appeared to stifle the Scots for, aside from a tenuous claim for another penalty on 18 minutes when Thomas clattered into Brosnan, they spent the remainder of the half in defensive mode.

Their ploy of getting Claire Emslie to stand in front of Campbell for throw-ins was as useful as a cost estimate for the Children’s Hospital. With each of her scuds, the Scots looked shakier and there is the bizarre sight of the ball gliding directly into the net on 28 minutes. Both Sophie Howard and her goalkeeper Lee Alexander, exposed in the mix-up, were spared embarrassment by the rule prohibiting goals direct from throws.

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It was down Campbell’s left side that the potential existed to hurt the hosts.

McCabe, drifting further wide, curled in a delicious cross on 36 minutes that the slightest of touches was needed to profit from. Perhaps O’Gorman couldn’t believe she was left unmarked as he somehow scooped her header over the crossbar from six yards.

O’Gorman, growing into the game, then flashed a left-footer on the turn past the near post but Ireland went closer in first-half stoppage-time, from another Campbell throw, leading to Howard twice clearing off the line.

VAR, in use for the time ever in an Ireland match, was called upon to check the second scramble from Diane Caldwell’s flick.

Scotland threatened to take a stranglehold after the interval when Weir began to dominate, bursting from deep and shoveling a shot that Brosnan dealt with, but still Ireland carried the vital concoction of calmness and control in their play.

None more so than Barrett, a peripheral figure over the campaign but one who soared in the most emotional of weeks.

Replacing Payne in attack, she was on the end of a move instigated by Howard’s errand pass out of defence. Niamh Fahey’s cushioned header to O’Sullivan was the catalyst for the pass that freed Barrett to etch her name into history.

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