Amber Barrett says the Republic of Ireland's demanding run of fixtures over the last ten months is now standing to them as they look to pick up three crucial points against Finland this evening.

Since December 2020, Vera Pauw’s side have faced Germany, Denmark, Belgium, and Iceland [twice] – all countries ranked inside the world’s top 20. Ireland lost every one of those encounters, but Pauw was adamant that the lessons learned against high-class opposition would serve her players in the long run.

Last month’s thrilling 3-2 friendly defeat of Australia was the breakthrough Ireland craved and though they opened their World Cup qualification campaign with a 1-0 loss against world No 2-ranked Sweden in Tallaght last Thursday, the Girls in Green more than held their own.

Barrett feels they are getting closer to taking a big scalp in a competitive fixture.

"I think one of the biggest problems for Irish football – the men as well – is that we just don’t get the [crucial] goal, or we concede the goal that other teams don’t," said the FC Koln striker.

"We’re getting closer all the time and we are developing.

"The result against Australia shows that, the performance [against Sweden] shows it, and against Finland now we’re really going to have to push on.

"If you look over the last few games, we went on a run of six or seven defeats. Ultimately yes, we look at the defeat, but you have to also look at the level of opposition we were playing.

"We’ve played some of the best women’s teams in the world with some of the best women’s players in the world. For us to really step on it’s about matching them and then going that little bit further when we get the opportunity."

After pouring so much into the clash with the Swedes, Ireland need to rally themselves for another really tough game in Helsinki.

Finland are the group’s second seeds and will compete at next summer’s Euros in England having topped their group. They are a very capable outfit.

"When the group came out, everyone looked at Sweden as being the top team in the group," added Barrett.

"When we looked at Finland but the message when the draw came out was, we’re happy with the draw, we know how good we are, we know how good the other teams are. Even going to Slovakia and Georgia, they’re going to be really difficult games.

"There’s a long way to go in the group and we’re not going to rule anything out."

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