Vera Pauw says she is proud that Ireland finished with a point at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup as their game plan worked against Nigeria’s Super Falcons.
Having seen their last-16 hopes end following a 1-0 loss to co-hosts Australia and 2-1 defeat to Canada in their opening two matches, Ireland’s final match at their maiden major tournament ended in a 0-0 draw against Nigeria in Brisbane.
“They are 11-time African champions and I think we really had the better play. They always looked dangerous, but we were in control and we were getting to their goal, we’ve created chances.
“We need to get there to score, and we’ve done that so much better than in the earlier games.
“If you’ve seen what they did against Australia (Nigeria beat them 3-2 last Thursday), how they put them under pressure and how they used their pace, not one time they could do that to us. The game plan worked again and I’m so proud.”
Pauw added: “I think we can be really, really proud because three top-10 nations – I’ve said before (40th-ranked) Nigeria for me are a top-10 nation – and we’ve played equal games against them.
“We lost by a penalty (against Australia), an own goal (against Canada) and now a draw. It is amazing.
“Those players came into the tournament as very good players, they go out of the tournament as world stars. It will change their lives, not only in the experience that they have, but they will get other contracts, they will get more opportunities and the next generation can step in.”