Soccer

Irish sides beaten in women’s European qualifiers

The Republic lost to a late goal in Sweden, while the north went down at home to Portugal

NI women
Northern Ireland players celebrate Lauren Wade's early goal but Portugal recovered to win 2-1 in Lurgan (Andrew McCarroll/Andrew McCarroll/ Pacemaker Pres)

Uefa Women’s Euro 2025 Qualifying

Group A3

Sweden 1 Republic of Ireland 0

Magdalena Eriksson struck six minutes from time to earn Sweden a 1-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland who still remain without a point in Euro 2025 Qualifying.

Sweden had chances to make their breakthrough in the first half courtesy of Fridolina Rolfo but earned their second win in four days over Ireland as Eriksson broke Irish hearts in Stockholm.

The Republic have failed to score in group A3 so far and relegation back to League B is looming for Eileen Gleeson’s side.

They nearly fell behind when goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan was closed down by Sweden captain Kosovare Asllani but her clearance was blocked behind for a goal-kick which could have easily ended up in the back of the net.

Sweden started to build pressure and had the first proper opening as Johanna Kaneryd’s dangerous cross found the head of Rolfo but she nodded narrowly over the bar.

Following a free-kick just before the half-hour mark which was punched out by Brosnan, the ball fell to Asllani who teed up Rolfo to thump a shot on target but the Ireland stopper was on hand to palm it out for a corner.

Sweden continued to dominate proceedings following the break but Ireland stood strong in defence, with Aoife Mannion’s attempted defensive clearance hitting Rolfo before Brosnan denied once again.

In the 84th minute, Sweden finally had their deserved breakthrough when Jonna Andersson’s corner was nudged into the net off Eriksson’s back as Ireland’s stubborn resistance was broken.

Ireland’s first shot on target came at the death and they almost nicked an equaliser when Amber Barrett cut in and unleashed an effort towards goal but Zercia Musovic saved to give Sweden the points.

Group B3

Northern Ireland 1 Portugal 2

Lauren Wade’s early goal was not enough for Northern Ireland as Portugal came from behind to win their latest Euro 2025 qualifier 2-1 in Lurgan.

Wade struck after just five minutes on Tuesday as the hosts looked to avenge last Friday’s loss to the Group B3 table-toppers at Mourneview Park.

Portugal quickly levelled with a fine header from Kika Nazareth and then took what proved a decisive lead as Andreia Norton pounced on a defensive mix-up on the half-hour.

The victory put Portugal in a commanding position at the top of the group with four wins from four games, with Northern Ireland eight points adrift in third place behind Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Tanya Oxtoby’s side got off to the perfect start as Wade struck in the opening minutes.

Keri Halliday released Simone Magill with a superb throughball from the touchline and her low delivery across goal was tapped in by a grateful Wade.

Yet Portugal were quick to respond with Nazareth having a shot blocked by Jackie Burns before grabbing the equaliser on 18 minutes.

Nazareth was also involved in the build-up, playing wide to Lucia Alves before continuing her run into the box.

Alves then looked up and curled a cross to the far post where Alves rose between two defenders and guided a powerful header past Burns.

Nazareth then forced another save from Northern Ireland skipper Burns before the goalkeeper had a moment to forget.

Burns played Joely Andrews into trouble with a pass from the back and Norton raced in to steal possession. Norton then skipped past Rebecca McKenna and fired past Burns at the near post with the aid of a deflection.

Telma Encarnacao then went close with an overhead kick and brought another save from Burns early in the second half.

Northern Ireland were unable to get back into the game in a cagey period of few chances.

Burns did well to push away a shot from Jessica Silva after the substitute had outfought Laura Rafferty to get in an effort on goal.