The head coach of the Republic of Ireland Women’s World Cup team said her players “feared for their bodies” in the abandoned Women’s World Cup warm-up against Colombia.
In an interview in Brisbane with Off The Ball, Vera Pauw said what was happening on the field was “outside the rules of the game”.
Pauw said: “We do not fear any physical contact, you know that, we are ourselves a team, that within the rules of the game, we are a very tough playing team.”
Irish midfielder Denise O’Sullivan sustained a shin injury in a challenge and was taken to hospital.
“She was in awful pain of course, potentially a very serious injury, she was on the ground.”
“We do not fear any physical contact normally.”
“The players feared for their bodies.”
Vera Pauw explains why she felt the game vs. Colombia had to be abandoned following several serious challenges on Irish players |
“This was out of the rules of the game.” pic.twitter.com/CaHglRzXfY
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) July 15, 2023
Pauw said she approached the opposition bench in an effort to keep things on the field calm, telling them: “We all want to go to the World Cup”.
While Pauw said the bench did not instigate anything negative happening on the field, she said she did not receive any help from them.
“The players, (for) the first time since I am coaching them, they feared, they feared for their bodies.”
The behind-closed-doors match was abandoned after around 20 minutes after becoming “overly physical”, the Football Association of Ireland said.
The PA news agency understands the decision was made following some rough challenges in Friday’s contest at Brisbane’s Meakin Park.
Suspendido el partido amistoso de Colombia.
— Selección Colombia (@FCFSeleccionCol) July 14, 2023
A statement from the FAI said: “The behind-closed-doors game between the Ireland women’s national team and Colombia on Friday evening was ended after 20 minutes of play.”
The Colombian Football Federation released a statement of its own which said, while the training of its teams was “framed within the rules of the game, healthy competition and fair play”, it respected Ireland’s decision.
The FCF said: “The Colombian Football Federation informs that the friendly match that was to take place as part of today’s training between the Colombia women’s national team and Ireland was suspended because the Irish national team preferred not to continue playing when 23 minutes of the first half had elapsed.
An update on the Irish team’s official Twitter account on Saturday morning provided encouraging news about the North Carolina Courage captain, reading: “Positive news for Denise O’Sullivan X-Ray and CT Scan show no fracture. Denise will work with WNT Medical Staff on a return to play procedure.”