Republic of Ireland 0 - 0 Mexico
International debuts for Edel Malone and Kacey O Driscoll
The Republic of Ireland failed to take advantage of the scoring chances they created against Mexico in the Algarve Cup in Portugal but they emerged with great credit from a match in which they drew with Mexico.
Mexico are ranked 12 places above Ireland in the FIFA ranking list and yet the Irish played so well that they were fully deserving of the draw. Added to a 1 - 0 win over Portugal onThursday, the result ensured that Ireland advanced in the competition.
Manager Noel King made five changes from the tem that beat Portugal with the express intention of giving several of the younger players in his squad more expeience. Two of them - Edel Malone and Kacey O'Driscoll won their first senior caps.
Ireland will play Switzerland away from home at the end of the month in a World Cup qualifying match and King stressed that this tournament was a critical part of their preparations for that.
He said: "To draw with Mexico was a huge achievement for us and I was very happy with the performance.
"What was very encouraging was that we had chances to win it and while we failed to take those chances, it says much for the performance that we were so close to causing an upset.
"Edel Malone forced their goalkeeper to make a fantastic save ten minutes from the end while Ciara Grant was narrowly over the bar with a header from six yards in a tense closing few minutes.
"We had chances also in the first half - Claire Scanlon had two shots, one that just went wide and another that was saved while Michelle O'Brien also had an opportunity.
"Mexico play a different style to the European teams and playing against a team like this was very positive experience for the girls, it gave them an insight into a different method and a different philosophy and all that was good experience."
Ireland will not know until Monday which team they will oppose in the next phase. What is exciting for them is to know that it is probable their match will be screened live on TV by Eurosport.
The Irish team was:
Sarah Peters; Marie Curtin, Sharon Boyle (Sonia Hughes 46), Alisha Moran, Yvonne Tracy, Dolores Deasley, Ciara Grant, Michelle O'Brien, Edel Malone, Kacey O'Driscoll (Elaine O'Connor 46), Claire Scanlon.
Ireland's other subs: Emma Byrne, Olivia O'Toole, Diane Caldwell, Aine O'Gorman, Grace Murray, Denise Thomas, Laura Hislop.