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Girls in Green's Euro campaign has been hugely heartening but their three toughest games are still to be faced

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Republic of Ireland women's manager Vera Pauw. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland women's manager Vera Pauw. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland women's manager Vera Pauw. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

The European Championships qualifying campaign of the Irish women's soccer team has been so hugely heartening it seems slightly churlish to point out that the hard part hasn't even started yet.

A casual glance at the Group I table might suggest that, at the very worst, Ireland are assured of a place in the qualification play-offs and that there's even a possibility of direct qualification by winning the group or being one of the three best runners-up.

But the fact that Ireland lead Germany by a point at the top of the table means little. Germany are going to win the group and Ireland's ambitions in the two matches against them, away in April and home in September, will probably be limited to keeping the score down.