Sunday, December 3, 2023

Ireland hope to repel underdogs Chile at Women’s Hockey World Cup

Amsterdam — Ireland women know all about upsets and seismic World Cup shocks. The Green Army will on Tuesday (1pm Irish time) hope to repel one of their own against Chile, the lowest ranked team here.

While the Irish were outclassed in their opening match 5-1 to hosts and world champions Holland, this crucial Pool clash will be a markedly different affair in both atmosphere and opponent.

The Wagener Stadium was a sea of 9,500 Oranje support on Saturday night, but with the peerless Dutch women not in action, Ireland will hope to kickstart their tournament on their own accord.

‘For us to progress through the tournament, the best way to do that is to target a team like Chile,’ said Róisín Upton.

‘They are ranked below us [world No 17 to Ireland’s 12] but we are well aware that this is their first ever tournament and it’s sitting exactly as we did four years ago.’

Chile’s men and women both qualified for their respective World Cups in January for the first time and possess plenty of passion and a threat at the penalty corner routine. 

Perhaps the biggest danger will come from Manuela Urroz, the 30-year-old who has racked up over 200 internationals over a 13-year international career and currently plays in Belgium with Royal Antwerp.

In their opening match, Chile pushed Germany in a tight first-half before losing 4-1 and Upton noted that Chile ‘have a lot of strengths that we need to counteract.’

Ireland will hope to see the likes of Michelle Carey and Caoimhe Perdue – one of four debutants – pushing forwards against Las Diablas (The Devils) and Katie Mullan centre forward leading from the front.

Chile have plenty of fight and passion PIC: Worldsportpics

Upton added: ‘This game excites us as you’d expect to possess the ball for longer periods than we had a against the Dutch.’

The match is the first of two matches in little over 24 hours. Should Ireland beat Chile, it will leave Sean Dancer’s side on the cusp of qualifying for the knock-out stage before the quarter-finals.

Deirdre Duke said: ‘We have been thinking about this Chile game for quite a while but I think it’s important we got out and play our own game and don’t build it up too much. They are a good side but it is about us tomorrow.

‘If we outwork them and keep doing our basics right, we are in with a good chance.’

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