Vera Pauw hit the ground running when she took over the Ireland job in September 2019, as she kept the side’s winning start to their European Championships qualifying campaign.
An opening success over Montenegro on the board when the former Dutch worldwide took the reins, following a transitional period considering that the departure of previous boss Colin Bell, Pauw made an immediate connection with her team who continued to remain unbeaten for 4 additional games.
With just three of the 8 qualifiers remaining, second place in the group looked an absolute certainty, there was an outdoors possibility of finishing top of the table, while the best-placed runners-up benefit of automated qualification was also quite on the cards.
Given, 2 of Ireland’s last three games were against the magnificent Germany, who had yet to yield an objective as they romped past any group that stood in their way.
And while Ireland revealed signs of completing at that level in both beats to the eventual group winners, it was not those valuable six dropped points that would cost Pauw’s side any hope of certification.
For all of it boiled down to one, or perhaps two, moments of bad luck in the away video game that was sandwiched in between the German double-header that saw the side’s hopes and imagine reaching their very first major competition definitely shattered.
And it is not an over-exaggeration to state that Ireland went to Kyiv to take on the second seed side, Ukraine, and absolutely pounded them from start to complete, playing neat and neat, attack-minded football from the very first minute to the last.
A Katie McCabe charge that crashed off the crossbar certainly obstructed the side, however it was a most bizarre 35- lawn own objective that ultimately ended the imagine the Irish side.
Extending a touch for the ball, the ever-reliable Áine O’Gorman most likely put more pace on the back-pass than anticipated, while the direction was also compromised by the heavy touch.
Goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan must probably have actually reacted differently, however between protector and stopper, the ball continued into the back of the internet and the grateful hosts dug in and held out for a not likely winner.
And while Ireland’s hopes of a top-two placement ended that night in the Ukrainian capital, the campaign curtain lastly came down on 1 December when Pauw’s side found themselves 2-1 down at half-time against Germany and came out for the last 45 looking to pull an unlikely bunny out of the hat.
Obviously, it never ever did materialise, as Ireland’s gung-ho, four-woman attack might not do the near-impossible and Germany ultimately put the tie to bed, running out 3-1 winners.
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) February 22, 2021
It brought Pauw’s first campaign to a close and without any agreement in place to take the genial Dutch coach even more with the international set-up, she admitted after the game that she needed to take some time to consider her future and the logistics of living and working far from house.
3 months on and the FAI finally revealed that Pauw would, in fact, be taking the team for the next two years in their quest to receive their very first World Cup.
The road to the Australia and New Zealand-hosted tournament will see Pauw organize for the entire campaign for the first time, and having actually lost out on European qualification, she thinks that the team are still enhancing and will get better prior to the brand-new project begins later this year.
” Unfinished business? Yes, I think that’s exactly the summary you can make,” said Pauw, speaking to RTÉ Sport.
” I believe from all sides, we’re not prepared to part [company] and we all want to continue.
” There is a lot more for the players to comprehend, and changing now would be a pity for them and for myself. I feel we are just en route.
” We were constantly growing during the project, and this group have actually not yet reached the ceiling yet.”
Pauw thinks that in spite of suffering frustration at the end of the Euros campaign, there were just positives to draw from the project, describing the reality that the general agreement was that the team were improving in their efficiencies at the end of the group regardless of the outcomes not going their method.
The manager thinks that Ireland were the only team to improve throughout the coronavirus crisis, and she is encouraged that a strong bond has established amongst her team and staff, which has produced a special environment.
And such is the bond between Pauw and her backroom personnel, the manager made a point of ensuring that agreements would be provided to Eileen Gleeson and Jan Willem van Ede before she signed her brand-new offer.
” It’s been a year and a half together and we have actually barely seen each other, however we have developed a bond with each other that I feel is extremely unique and I think the players feel the same.
” The enormous professionalism that I felt from my staff, I do not believe I ever felt an atmosphere like that, where they wanted to make a difference and make a modification.
” It’s not just the gamers, it’s the entire environment. And there is a whole ambiance of positivity around the game in Ireland and I really want to be part of it.
” I stated the precondition was that I could keep my backroom staff. I hope that their agreements will be signed as soon as possible, however the deal is done.”
And Pauw confesses this strong bond showed the choosing element to return and pick up where she ended with her ever-emerging Ireland squad.
” It was a decision of the heart.
” And I feel the same.”
Another pre-condition for Pauw to sign her new two-year deal was to come to an arrangement that the team will have the access to mixed-gender training for home-based players, which the manager thinks is vital to help test her players versus footballers of comparable levels.
Pauw detailed how her gamers may improve with access to training with older boys or guys’s side, a choice that was a previous sticking point as a result of insurance issues.
The Dutch native sees it as a significant step to getting her squad to elite level, which will also aid with bringing equality in the video game in Ireland over matters like equivalent pay.
” The problem is, we do not yet bring in money. Equal pay comes when there is a possibility for equal pay.
” There are other concerns that are not equal with the males. So let’s focus initially on getting level playing fields for training, for development, because that is something that’s attainable which is not costly.
” You initially need to develop equal opportunity and perform to equivalent requirements, then the money will come in.”
Most of Pauw’s team ply their trade outside of the nation, however, the manager still believes that the Women’s National League has a big function to play in the development of the video game in Ireland.
” The Women’s National League is the base of all the gamers in Ireland of our females’s national group, so its development is important for the development of the national team.
” A lot of players have travelled and of course they grew further in an expert environment, but the base is the WNL and we will do everything to help that develop.
” And if we can all interact, like with mixed-gender training, it will continue to improve.”
Expecting the World Cup, Pauw confessed that it will be a hard job to certify, thinking about there are less locations available for European groups than would get approved for the Euros. She feels however that a beneficial draw might really make the mission less difficult having actually taken on Germany throughout the last campaign.
” Eleven countries certify with one play-off place, while at the Euros it’s 16 teams, so because sense, it’s already harder.
” But on the other hand, we need to wait on the draw. With Germany, we essentially had no possibility, so on this celebration, it might in fact be simpler.”