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Austria Knock Spirited Northern Ireland Out Of The Euro’s With Excellent Display

Updated: Jul 12, 2022

Austria proved too good for Northern Ireland as they condemned Kenny Shiels’ side to their second defeat of the tournament meaning that they are eliminated while Austria faces a mouth-watering tie against Norway on Friday night to potentially secure their qualification into the knockout rounds.

St Mary's Stadium 2022.jpg By Dan Kerins Licensed By CC BY 4.0

Northern Ireland came into the match looking to get their first point in a major tournament ever after losing their opening match four one to Norway on Thursday night. Northern Ireland’s manager Kenny Shiels made four changes to the side which lost at St Marys as he changed formation to a 4-4-2 after attempting to back a three-at-the-back system in their opening match.

Magill and Caldwell missed out through injury as well as Burrows and Magee who made way for McKenna and Holloway in the formation switch-up. Captain Callaghan and Kirsty McGuinness are the other two who are included in the starting eleven. Austria showed great fight and determination in their opening game defeat against England and their manager Irene Fuhrmann made three changes to that side. Schiechtl, Hobinger, and Hickelsberger-Fuller come into replace Wienroither, Naschenweng, and Feiersinger as Austria hope to secure their first three points of the tournament.

The opening stages of the game were dominated by Austria as Northern Ireland had to rely on their two upfront to attempt to create any kind of opening. However, Shiels’ side were caught out on several occasions as some excellent defending from Robson prevented Billa after some lovely play by Zadrazil in the middle of the park.

Austria took a deserved lead twenty minutes in as a low free-kick from just outside the box on the right-hand side was whipped in low by Katharina Schiechtl which took a deflected off the Northern Ireland wall which was enough to wrong-foot Burns and send the Austrians one-nil up. The formation change hadn’t helped Northern Ireland who were just being outplayed by an opposition who were a level too high for Kenny Shiels’ side.

As the first half drew to a close, Jackie Burns created her own problem as she passed the ball straight to Barbara Dunst who looked produced a lovely little chip over the keeper but she made a top-quality save to tip the ball onto the crossbar and that meant that first half ended with Austria just one-nil up.

The second half was a fairly uneventful contest until about twenty minutes when Burns almost spilled Dunst’s shot into the top corner from twenty yards. Northern Ireland slowly grew into the match with Kirsty McGuiness down the left-hand side in particular and Rachel Furness came the closest with a lopping header which landed just on top of the Austrian net.

However, as they pushed forward, they left themselves exposed at the back and just two minutes from the end paid the price as a long free-kick from Sarah Puntigam found its way to Katharina Naschenweng inside the penalty who took on two Northern Ireland defenders and slotted coolly past Burns to secure Austria’s first points of the tournament so far.

Kenny Shiels’ words portrayed a similar message to what the Northern Ireland manager stated on Thursday night that his team ‘aren’t quite there yet' and that he is encouraged with the experience this is giving the ‘younger ones’ in the side who will ‘be around for a lot longer yet'. Austria will be delighted to get their first points of the tournament as they now set up a mouth-watering tie with Norway to get out of the group and into the knockout stages on Friday night in Brighton. Northern Ireland, they are now eliminated from the tournament following England’s win over Norway so it will be a chance to test themselves against one of the best teams in the world.

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