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‘The intensity needs to be the same’ – Vera Pauw demands high levels again from Ireland for Slovakia clash

Girls in Green boss wants repeat of Finnish performance in World up qualifier at Tallaght Stadium

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Manager Vera Pauw during an Ireland womens press conference at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Manager Vera Pauw during an Ireland womens press conference at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Manager Vera Pauw during an Ireland womens press conference at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Vera Pauw has warned her Ireland squad that they will fall short against Slovakia if they fail to bring the same intensity that delivered last month's famous victory in Finland.

Pauw's side are hopeful a record crowd will attend Thursday night's 2023 Women's World Cup qualifying showdown with the Slovakians with ticket sales suggesting that the previous tally of 5,328 will be surpassed although there are fears Covid concerns will cut numbers at short notice and result in no shows.

Ireland are in pole position for a playoff spot after defeating Finland in Helsinki, but they need to build on that in the home double header against the two lowest ranked teams in the group with Georgia next up on Tuesday.

Fourth seeds Slovakia are the superior of the two and lost narrowly to top dogs Sweden and Finland and Pauw is confident her players will avoid complacency.

"It is very close, the teams are not far apart," she said at her pre-match press conference where it was confirmed captain Katie McCabe has shaken off a foot injury.

"I think this team is so realistic, they understand what our chances are. We have to have the same level of game that we did against Finland to have a chance to win.

"We will step onto the pitch with the same approach as against Finland. Hopefully we'll have more of the ball but the intensity needs to be the same. The players are very much aware.

"Can I use a Dutch expression? If you put on pants that are too big a size, they will go down to your ankles. If we act as if we are bigger than we are, we'll have a problem with coping with that.

"The players are so concentrated and willing to execute it. I think we are on the right track."

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Pauw says her squad are comfortable with the additional attention.

"I hope Covid will not be spoiling it because there was already schools that had to cancel their buses because of the Covid regulations. We have 6,000 tickets sold; that's amazing. Before we had to hand out tickets.

"I think the team has a lot of power, a lot of energy and enthusiasm for their sport," she continued, when asked where the interest has come from.

"They are always available. There is nobody who tries to sneak out of that. They know where they stand but they also know their responsibilities."


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