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20.01.2019 at 15:00 Pinatar Arena, Murcia Attendance:
Belgium 0 - 1 Ireland
Referee: Zulema Gonzalez Gonzalez (ESP) Friendly-match

Dhont 16 mins; None.
Opening squads
Nicky Evrard (GK),
Davina Philtjens,
Tine Decaigny,
Lenie Onzia,
Shari Van Belle,
Elena Dhont,
Janice Cayman (C),
Laura De Neve,
Julie Biesmans,
Laura Deloose,
Kassandra Missipo.
Marie Hourihan
Harriet Scott
Niamh Fahey
Tyler Toland
Katie Mc Cabe
Megan Connolly
Louise Quinn
Denise O Sullivan
Heather Payne
Emily Kraft
Isibeal Atkinson
1-Justien Odeurs,
11-Shari Vangheluwe,
15-Yana DaniŽls,
16-Nicky Van den Abbeele;
Chloe Vande Velde;
Davinia Vanmechelen;
Heleen Jaques;
Ella Van Kerkhoven;
Grace Moloney
Eabha O Mahony
Claire O Riordan
Niamh Farrelly
Jessica Ziu
Emily Whelan
Amber Barrett
Rebecca Cooke
Chloe Vande Velde for Onzia 63 mins,
Davinia Vanmechelen for Philthens 64 mins
Heleen Jaques for Elena Dhont 64 mins,
Ella Van Kerkhoven for De Neve 83 mins,
Claire O Riordan -> Harriet Scott (51)
Jessica Ziu -> Niamh Fahey (68)
Emily Whelan -> Isibeal Atkinson (76)
Amber Barrett -> Emily Kraft (76)
Niamh Farrelly -> Claire O Riordan (86)
Yellow cards
None None.
Red cards
None None.
Other statistics
0 Shots 0
0 Shots on goal 0
0 Offsides 0
0 Corner kicks 0
0 Free kicks 0
0 Penalties 0
Match report
Debuts for Emily Kraft, Niamh Farrelly, and Isibeal Atkinson

A strong Belgian side netted their first chance of the game through Dhont in the 16th minute as Colin Bell's young Ireland side failed to find the net.

Bell handed a senior international debut to 16-year old striker Emily Kraft and a first start to Shelbourne winger Isibeal Atkinson. He also welcomed Megan Connolly and Harriet Scott back into the starting line-up for the first fixture of 2019.

Belgium struggled to break down Ireland throughout the 90 minutes, having claimed an impressive 1-1 draw against Spain on Thursday evening. Unfortunately, Ireland gave Belgium the perfect opportunity to take the lead when they failed to play it out of the back and Dhont capitalised to fire home from just outside the area.

In difficult conditions in Murcia, both sides struggled to create chances but Ireland responded well to going behind and took control of the game. Captain Katie McCabe saw her fierce effort blocked in the 20th minute before Ireland's best chance of the game just past the half-hour.

A well-worked corner routine between Tyler Toland and Katie McCabe saw the near-post cross flicked just past the left-hand post by the dominant Louise Quinn.

Ireland were hampered by two defensive injuries as Harriet Scott was forced off just after the break, to be replaced by Claire O'Riordan. In the final quarter-of-an-hour, O'Riordan was forced off after sustaining a head injury and she was replaced by senior international debutant Niamh Farrelly.

Ireland, who were missing strike duo Leanne Kiernan and Rianna Jarrett, failed to create many chances in the second-half to draw level as Colin Bell's side succumbed to defeat.

"I can't fault the effort of the players. They've had a great week of training and they've continued until the very last minute," said WNT Head Coach Colin Bell.

"Belgium are a strong side and they will do well, no doubt. The disappointing thing is that we've lost the game without being outclassed. The goal they scored was down to our mistake and that is extremely frustrating.

"We're missing a few players but that gave the opportunity to some other players today. If you look at the players we've brought on, we've played two 16-year olds, three 17-year olds and 18-year olds, so this is a great experience for the younger players.

"Emily Kraft deserved to start today after a fantastic week of training and showed that she can compete at this level. She had to go up against a strong Belgian defence, both centre-backs have over 50 caps, and she caused them problems.

"There were real positives for us to take forward but we need to make sure we're not giving the opposition an opportunity to win the game like we did."

Republic of Ireland: Marie Hourihan (GK), Heather Payne, Megan Connolly, Niamh Fahey (Jessica Ziu 68), Louise Quinn, Harriet Scott (Claire O'Riordan 51 (Niamh Farrelly 86)), Tyler Toland, Denise O'Sullivan, Katie McCabe (C), Isibeal Atkinson (Emily Whelan 76), Emily Kraft (Amber Barrett 76).

Belgium: Nicky Evrard (GK), Davina Philtjens (Davinia Vanmechelen 64), Tine Decaigny, Lenie Onzia (Chloe Vande Velde 63), Shari Van Belle, Elena Dhont (Heleen Jaques 64), Janice Cayman (C), Laura De Neve (Ella Van Kerkhoven 83), Julie Biesmans, Laura Deloose, Kassandra Missipo.

Referee: Zulema Gonzalez Gonzalez (ESP)

Republic of Ireland WNT squad v Belgium
Goalkeepers: Marie Hourihan (Brighton and Hove Albion), Grace Moloney (Reading)

Defenders: Heather Payne (Bristol City), Diane Caldwell (SC Sand), Niamh Fahey (Liverpool FC), Harriet Scott (Birmingham City), Louise Quinn (Arsenal), Claire O'Riordan (MSV Duisburg), Eabha O'Mahony (Cork City), Shauna Brennan (Galway Women's).

Midfielders: Tyler Toland (Kildrum Tigers), Megan Connolly (unattached), Denise O'Sullivan (North Carolina Courage), Niamh Farrelly (Peamount United), Rebecca Cooke (Shelbourne).

Attackers: Katie McCabe (Arsenal), Emily Whelan (Shelbourne), Amber Barrett (Peamount United), Jessica Ziu (Shelbourne), Isibeal Atkinson (Shelbourne), Emily Kraft (FFC Frankfurt).

Result - International Friendly
20/01 - Belgium 1-0 Republic of Ireland, Pinatar Arena, Murcia
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