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King: girls just getting started

NOEL KING believes that the Irish girls U17 side still have unfinished business at the World Cup finals as they seek a place in the last four of the tournament tonight.

King's side made it to the quarter-finals by topping a group which included Brazil, Canada and Ghana, but the Irish boss believes that his players can still go further after they take on Japan tonight.

"Emerging from a group ahead of Brazil, Canada and Ghana was always going to be a massive task and, to be honest, nobody here expected us to top the group ahead of those world class teams," King said. "Those results have given the whole group the confidence which is required at this level and I really believe that the girls are not finished just yet.

"All of the girls are extremely excited about qualifying for this stage of the competition. It is a historic moment for women's football in Ireland and, no matter what the outcome of this game, we have already made history. But I know that the girls just want to go the whole way to the final at this stage, such is the confidence in the squad," added King, who has done his homework on the Japanese ahead of the game this evening.

"Since our arrival at the tournament, we have been scouting and monitoring a number of teams, including Japan. We have already seen them play twice and have been looking at the dvds from their previous games.

"There is no doubt that they will be a massive test for our side as they possess a different threat which we may not have encountered in the World Cup so far. They are an incredibly strong side who like to play free- flowing, attacking football and, after scoring 13 goals in the last three games, there's no doubt that they will be dangerous in front of goal.

"At this stage of the competition, I think everyone knows the style of football that we possess.

"We will not be changing our system at this stage because I believe it will allow us to get at Japan both defensively and in attack.

"We also have a number of small knocks in the camp but hopefully the players will recover in time to face Japan," added King.

3Ireland v Japan is being shown live on Eurosport and on www.rte.ie.