'No fear' for Republic of Ireland's women says manager

Vera Pauw says her team head into their next two games "without fear" Credit: PA

Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw insists her team head into their 2023 Women's World Cup qualifying matches against Slovakia and Georgia "without fear".

First up is Slovakia as the Republic return to Tallaght Stadium on Thursday for their third game in Group A, following a narrow loss to Sweden and a win away to Finland.

"We cannot underestimate them. We need to be sharp and on our toes, ready to attack, just like a tiger," said Pauw, who has all of her squad fit and available.

"We have so much faith in what we are trying to achieve - players and staff - but we have to build on the win against Finland in October and find a way to take maximum points from these two games.

"Thanks to the friendly games that we have played against higher-ranked opponents, we have learned how to raise our level of performance. The players learned what it means to take on any opponent without fear.

"If we manage to get into the game with the same will to sacrifice ourselves for the team, then we have a chance to make the next step in our qualification process. Only then will we have a chance to collect these points."

It looks like there will be a record crowd at Tallaght Stadium for the fixture. Over 5,500 tickets have been sold, which surpasses the existing highest attendance of 5,238 achieved in Pauw's first game against Ukraine in October 2019.

"It is exciting to be back at Tallaght Stadium again and we are hoping to have another big crowd," said Pauw.

"There is no experience like it, playing in front of our passionate supporters. We know that so many people are behind us, willing us forward.

"For us, that kind of backing inspires us to be brave in what we do as we chase our dream of qualification for the World Cup."