Vera Pauw believes that Ireland may have missed their chance of Euro 2022 qualification as the women's national team lost 1-0 to Ukraine in Friday’s Euro 2022 qualifier.
The result has effectively taken Ireland’s qualification chances out of their own hands as Ukraine now have two games to make up the four-point gap to overtake Pauw’s side and claim second place in Group I.
Ireland have one game remaining, taking on Germany in Dublin on 1 December, and now Pauw’s side need to win that match against the top seeds to secure second place.
It’s an unlikely scenario when the previous results in the group are considered as the Germans top the group with a 100% record, having beaten Ireland 3-0 last month and recording a remarkable 16-0 aggregate scoreline over Ukraine in their two games.
Pauw even conceded that she fully expects Ukraine to win their remaining two games, but tried to remain upbeat by saying that she would have a plan for the Germany game.
But the Ireland coach will rue her side’s inability to claim even a point in Kyiv, a result that would have secured second place and a guaranteed play-off for the England-hosted tournament in the summer of 2022.
The travelling Irish dominated the early stages but were hit by a body blow as Aine O’Gorman scored a freak own goal, while Katie McCabe missed a first-half penalty.
"I think we dominated constantly and everyone could see that we were the better team but the ball just would not go in for us," said Pauw, speaking to RTE Sport after the game.
"At half-time, we said that we have 45 minutes to get one goal so don't rush and makes sure to keep your structure.
"So the plan was to play the same way, but time went ticking and there was hardly any football anymore because the opponents needed to get the win across the finish line."
Looking ahead to the final stages of the group, Ukraine play their next game on Tuesday, away in Greece and victory will move them to within one point of Ireland.
The final round of games takes place on 1 December as Ireland host Germany, while Ukraine take on Montenegro, who have lost all seven games that they have played in the group.
As a result, Ireland will be hoping that Greece or Montenegro will do them a favour and take points off Ukraine, otherwise, an unlikely victory over Germany at Tallaght Stadium will be needed.
"Greece can only take the points if they have the very, very best day and Ukraine have a day like us and the ball does not want to go in," said Pauw. "But normally Ukraine will beat Greece and Montenegro.
"And the chance to win against Germany, we need sit down and make a game-plan. We will do everything we can to get a win, but we all know how strong Germany are.
"We feel that we have given it away here."
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