Euro 2022: Austria defeat leaves Northern Ireland close to elimination

Katharina Schiechtl scored the first goal of the first half for Austria at home

Northern Ireland is on the brink of an early exit from Euro 2022 following a 2-0 loss to Austria at Southampton.

Katharina Schiechtl touched Sarah Puntigam’s deflected free kick in the 19th minute to give Austria the lead in their second Group A game.

Northern Ireland, playing in their first major tournament, grew in confidence as the match wore on, but struggled to break down a stern Austrian defense before Katharina Naschenweng’s late second goal secured victory.

The fate of Kenny Shiels’ side could be sealed in the 20:00 BST game between Norway and England, where Northern Ireland will be eliminated if the Norwegians fail to defeat the hosts.

Austria’s win keeps Irene Fuhrmann in the hunt for a place in the quarter-finals ahead of her final match against Norway on Friday.

Of Northern Ireland’s three Group A games, Austria was singled out as the most realistic chance for them to get a result on their European Championship debut.

The teams drew 2-2 in World Cup qualifiers in Belfast in October, with Austria scoring a stoppage-time equalizer, before Fuhrmann’s side won the reverse fixture 3-1 in April.

Austria fares better in scorching heat

In fierce heat, with temperatures reaching 27°C, it was the favorites who got off to the brightest start in front of a crowd of 9,268 when Julia Hickelsberger-Fuller headed the ball in front of goal and Nicole Billa, blind, could not. react and deflect the ball home.

Hickelsberger-Fuller, the standout player in the first half, then fed her Hoffenheim teammate Billa after some excellent work, but, just when it looked like the net was going to swell, Sarah McFadden ran in to do just enough. to stop the striker and the ball hit the side net.

Without the injured Simone Magill, captain Marissa Callaghan was tasked with playing a ‘false nine’ role and, as Northern Ireland struggled without their central outlet, Lauren Wade’s pace caused the Austrians problems and her long-range shot was contained by Arsenal. goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger.

However, the pressure from Austria kept coming, and the break came when Demi Vance fouled Hickelsberger-Fuller on the edge of the box. Puntigam’s low free kick took a touch away from Julie Nelson, who was at the end of the two-player wall, and Schiechtl evaded her marker to bring the ball home in the 19th minute.

Kenny Shiels’ team fought their way into the match against a team 26 places higher in the world rankings and got their first big chance when Callaghan picked up Vance’s pass, making his way inside the area before being thwarted by the defense of Austria Carina Wenninger.

That marked the start of a run of form for Northern Ireland, however a succession of set pieces failed to generate clear chances.

Northern Ireland were then caught playing from behind when goalkeeper Jackie Burns gave the ball to Barbara Dunst after Rebecca McKenna’s backwards pass.

However, Burns raced back and deflected the winger’s effort over the top of the crossbar with a brilliant recovery and the half-time scoreboard was a true reflection of the game despite Northern Ireland’s growing confidence.

More to follow.

lineups

Austria

Training 4-1-4-1

  • 1Zinsberger
  • 6Schiechtl
  • 7Wenninger
  • elevenschnaderbeckReplaced forgeorgievaa Four. Five’minutes
  • 19Hanshaw
  • 17Puntigam
  • 18Hickelsberger-FüllerReplaced forNaschenwenga 73′minutes
  • 14HobingerReplaced forFeiersingera Four. Five’minutes
  • 9Zadrazil
  • 8dunst
  • fifteenbillaReplaced formakasa 85′minutes

substitutes

  • twogeorgieva
  • 3Naschenweng
  • 4Degene
  • 5schaching
  • 10Feiersinger
  • 13Kirchberger
  • sixteenEder
  • twentymakas
  • twenty-oneKresche
  • 22Enzinger
  • 23Comrade

North Ireland

Training 4-4-2

  • 1Burns
  • twomckennaReplaced formageea 73′minutes
  • 5nelsonReplaced forMcDaniela 85′minutes
  • 4Robson
  • fifteenHolloway
  • 14Wade
  • 7McCarron
  • 10furnessReplaced forAndrewa 79′minutes
  • 3Vance
  • 8CallaghanReplaced forMcGuinnessa 85′minutes
  • elevenMcGuinnessReplaced forwilsona 80′minutes

substitutes

  • 6hutton
  • 12Flaherty
  • 13burrows
  • sixteenCaldwell
  • 17Rafferty
  • 18McDaniel
  • 19wilson
  • twentyAndrew
  • twenty-oneMcGuinness
  • 22magee
  • 23Turner

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