Irish Team Decides Soccer Friendly Wasn't

After shortened match, Colombia player mocks complainers over 'one little foul'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2023 4:00 PM CDT
Ireland Ends Friendly After Injury to Player
Coach Vera Pauw talks to Ireland's Katie McCabe after a substitution July 6 in a friendly against France in Dublin.   (Brian Lawless/PA via AP)

A soccer friendly between the Colombia and Republic of Ireland women's teams was called after 20 minutes when the Irish side said its players "feared for their bodies." Denise O'Sullivan, an Irish midfielder, was taken to a hospital after a violent challenge, the Guardian reports; X-rays showed nothing broken. "It started lively, a good game, normal, and then it built an atmosphere up in which it became over physical," Vera Pauw, Ireland's head coach, said later. The play involving O'Sullivan, she said, was "not within the rules of the game, and she was in awful pain." Pauw said her players were upset and fearful after that.

The Football Association of Ireland said Saturday that the match the day before was halted after consultation with match officials when it became too rough, per CNN. The World Cup warmup was played behind closed doors in Brisbane, Australia. The Colombian Football Federation said it respected Ireland's decision while noting in a statement that "all of the processes and trainings of our national teams are based on the rules of the game, healthy competition and Fair Play." Pauw said Colombia took its players off the field while the Irish team was deciding what to do after the injury.

Colombian player Daniela Caracas addressed the issue to fans outside Meakin Park. "They are just girls, one little foul and they started complaining," she said. "They were having a chat among themselves to continue or not so we weren't going to hang around waiting for them." After the game was ended, the Irish team held a training session instead. Pauw said O'Sullivan might be recovered in time for the World Cup opener on July 20, when Ireland plays Australia in Sydney. (Ireland's team includes a player who blew the whistle on abuse in US soccer.)

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