Republic want to leave World Cup legacy – McCabe

Republic want to leave World Cup legacy - McCabe

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Vera Pauw
Manager Vera Pauw (right) has led Republic of Ireland to a first Women’s World Cup
Hosts: Australia and New Zealand Dates: 20 July – 20 August
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website & app. Full coverage details; latest news

Captain Katie McCabe says the Republic of Ireland “are not just happy to be here” and will push Australia in their World Cup opener on Thursday.

McCabe will lead the Republic out for their World Cup debut against the co-hosts at a sold-out Stadium Australia in Sydney.

They will also play Canada and Nigeria in Group B.

“We don’t just want to create history. We want to leave a legacy back home,” said McCabe.

Arsenal’s McCabe said the Republic are proud to carry the underdog tag and the pressure is all on Australia, who will be favourites in front of an 82,000-strong crowd.

“We know we are making our debut but we know what we want to do,” she said.

“We want to give Australia, Canada and Nigeria the hardest games possible. It’s going to be exiting.

“We know what Australia have. They have quality all over the park, but we know what we can do all over the pitch. We are fully concentrated on tomorrow.”

O’Sullivan fit to play

Key Republic midfielder Denise O’Sullivan has been passed fit after being taken to hospital following Friday’s abandoned friendly with Colombia.

Scans revealed she suffered a badly bruised shin, but manager Vera Pauw said she is “fine and will play” against Australia.

Much was made of the decision to end the Colombia game after only 20 minutes following “overly physical” tackles on Republic players, but McCabe said “full focus” is on Australia.

“We knew Colombia were going to be physical – it is the case in every game,” she said.

“We don’t shy away from that and it is ingrained in us. We are prepared for Australia to be physical.

“We have looked at the games they have played and they don’t shy away from that either. We are prepared to match it.”

In front of an expectant home crowd, all eyes will be on Australia star striker and captain Sam Kerr. However, Pauw said her team cannot focus on one player.

“We have our game plan. Part of that is dealing with Sam but also the rest of their players,” she said.

“Australia is not just Sam Kerr. We have analysed them and set out our game plan.”

The Republic left their camp in Brisbane on Wednesday and were welcomed by fans at Sydney airport.

“It’s crazy to think we actually here now. We landed a short while ago at Sydney airport greeted by Irish fans,” McCabe said.

“To see the numbers that have travelled and the amount of support we have in Sydney – today and, more importantly, tomorrow – it’s really special and the whole team feel that. We want to do the nation proud.

“Why we started playing football was for the love and enjoyment. Myself and the girls have been on a journey, with the coaching staff and all our staff, and it’s something we have all worked hard towards.

“We will embrace every moment and have that moment to ourselves, and when that whistle blows we will be ready to battle.”



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