FIFA World Cup 2019 Qualifier Preview: Republic of Ireland -v- NorwayFri, Jun 08 2018
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
The Republic of Ireland host Norway in the first of two games in five days that could determine both sides' chances of making the World Cup in France (kick-off 7.45pm).
Defeat to the Netherlands at Tallaght Stadium in April knocked Ireland out of top spot in the group, while a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland moved Norway within a point of second.
A win in Tallaght would put Ireland in pole position to seal second place and the likelihood of a World Cup play-off.
Ireland welcome back international player of the year Harriet Scott to the squad after she missed the games with Slovakia and the Netherlands with injury.
"We're delighted to see Harriet return to the squad,” manager Colin Bell told the association's official website.
“She picked up another injury during her comeback from the collarbone but we're monitoring her closely and we hope she'll be fit for both games.
"We're also closely monitoring Niamh Fahey who has also picked up an injury whilst with her club Bordeaux.
"I'd like to congratulate Rianna Jarrett who returns to the squad. To come back from three ACL injuries requires a huge amount of hard work, commitment and desire, and she should be incredibly proud of her efforts so far.
"She's been in great form this season for Wexford Youths and I really feel that if she can continue to work hard and keep getting fitter and stronger with every game, she could be an important player for us in the future.
"These are two crucial games against Norway, the top seeds in the group, and we'll have to be at our very best to get the results we need.
“The players have been excellent so far this campaign but we need two big performances both at Tallaght Stadium and in Norway."
Maiden City's Tyler Toland also returns from a hand injury that kept her out of the April squad, but Steph Roche and Megan Campbell remain absent.
Heather Payne, Amy Boyle-Carr and Saoirse Noonan all miss out as they take their Leaving Cert exams.
Three goals in the second half saw Norway overcome Northern Ireland in Portadown in April.
The win moved Norway to nine points – one behind Ireland in second and four behind group leaders the Netherlands.
Norway will need to win at least one of the two games with Ireland in order to go into the final round of games in second position.
"There is a very good mood in the group. We have completed several good workouts now, so I think it looks good,” defender Ingrid Moe Wold told the Norwegian FA's media team.
"It's very similar to Northern Ireland, but Ireland is a lot better skillful and individual. It's so simple and difficult to win the matches that are left to get to the World Cup. Then we'll see how we handle it.”
Manager Martin Sjogren added: “We will meet a defensively-oriented Ireland. This means we have to make runs into the box to penetrate the deep defensive line.”.
Norway have a full squad to choose from.
Referee: Kateryna Monzul (Ukraine).
Ireland sit on ten points in Group 3 with three wins, one draw and the sole defeat coming to the Netherlands.
Norway are on nine points with one defeat in four games, also to the Netherlands.
Republic of Ireland 9/2; Draw 11/4; Norway 4/9.
Republic of Ireland 1 – 1 Norway
Republic of Ireland
Injured: Megan Campbell, Steph Roche.
Unavailable: Heather Payne, Amy Boyle-Carr and Saoirse Noonan.