Katie McCabe wins 50th Republic of Ireland cap in defeat to Belgium
- Credit: PA
Katie McCabe won her 50th cap for the Republic of Ireland as they lost 1-0 to Belgium on Sunday evening at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.
Vera Pauw's side had plenty of positives to take from the game however, just like they did on Thursday against Denmark in a game that they also lost 1-0.
Belgium took the lead on the 14th minute via Tine De Caigny as she met an inswinging free-kick from Laura de Neve’s to flick beyond Courtney Brosnan in the Irish goal.
The Irish did have chances in the game however with Ruesha Littlejohn unlucky to see her powerful free-kick saved by goakeeper Justien Odeurs.
Heather Payne then forced a save from Odeurs after collecting a brilliant ball from Denise O'Sullivan but her effort was well kept out by Justien Odeurs down low.
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On the stroke of half-time McCabe was inches away from having an assist to her name as she picked the ball out wide before her cross aiming for Payne was just a little too heavy and sailed away from the attacker.
McCabe was then denied a penalty on 46 minutes when she got one on one with the keeper but was denied a penalty when challenged by Kassandra Missipo but her appeals were waved away.
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Belgium were then handed a glorious opportunity to double their advantage when Megan Connolly slid in with perfect timing to get a crucial block on a goal-bound effort from Tessa Wullaert before De Caigny drilled the rebound wide.
With twenty minutes to go Belgium had another golden opportunity to extend their lead when De Caigny beat Diane Caldwell before scuffing her shot into the arms of West Ham keeper Brosnan.
However, the Republic of Ireland thought they were level when Odeurs made a terrific save to keep out Littlejohn as her powerful free-kick curled over the wall but the keeper was on hand to make an outstanding save palming it out for a corner that came to nothing.
Pauw's side had the final talking point of the game with five minutes to go when Louise Quinn and Rianna Jarrett combined before Jarrett fired her shot straight at the keeper.
On making her 50th international cap McCabe who was appointed captain of the team in 2017 said: “I’m very proud to reach 50 senior caps with the Republic of Ireland. I cannot describe the pride that I have in representing my country and it is something that I will never take for granted.
“Of course, I have to thank all of the people who helped me to reach this point. The different managers – Sue Ronan, Colin Bell, Tom O’Connor and Vera Pauw – all of the backroom staff through the years, every one of my team-mates…past and present, and the Irish supporters who have been incredible throughout my international career to date.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to all of the coaches who have been a positive influence on my development, from Grassroots through to the Women’s National League and underage international teams. It’s important to never forget the confidence that they had in me long before I ever made it to senior level.
“Even though 50 caps is a significant milestone, I feel like I have so much more to give to the Ireland senior team. We will continue with our preparations for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and that is something that really motivates me because being part of the first Ireland team to qualify for a major tournament is the dream that I want to achieve more than anything else.”
Meanwhile, Gunners goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger played the full 90 minutes for Austria as they drew 2-2 with Finland in an international friendly fixture.
Goals from Nicole Billa and Marie Höbinger put Austria 2-0 ahead but Finland fought back in the second half to earn a draw through a double from Eveliina Summanen who's plays her club football at Kristianstads DFF in Sweden.