Vera Pauw insists her Ireland side are on the up and will be in the race for World Cup qualification despite a loss to Sweden in the opening game of their qualifying campaign.
And the Republic’s coach maintains that her outfit will be a lot closer in the race for qualification if they can sustain that level of display in the remaining qualifiers.
Although, the likely loss of key midfielder Denise O’Sullivan for Tuesday’s tie in Finland is a concern as she appeared to suffer a shoulder injury.
A first-half own goal was the difference between the sides at a sold-out Tallaght Stadium and Pauw says it’s a compliment to her team that the Swedes, ranked second in the world, adapted their game-plan to cope with Ireland. However, her side also did have ’keeper Courtney Brosnan to thank on a few occasions.
“I am disappointed with the result but very proud of the performance,” Pauw said. “This will bring us to the World Cup. Sweden will go on and on and I know Slovakia lost narrowly to them, but nobody has put this performance against them.
“We had hoped that we could keep it close, there were a few moments where our goalkeeper did fantastic, she played the game of her life so far and I felt we could put them under pressure, we played 4-2-4 at the end. They were adapting to how we played, that is a huge compliment for us, Sweden adapting to us.
“It’s been better than previous games and we are still on the way up.
“We grow every single game, every game is getting better, this was again better than Australia in the way that we played, in our game-plan we can only go up and we believe.
“We need to be realistic, as long as we play realistic, with a game-plan that suits these players and takes us a step further, then I think we are on the right path,” Pauw added.
“It’s such a shame it’s an own goal as she miskicked the ball, to lose it like that but if you look at our process you can be very proud of our team.”