Republic of Ireland’s hopes of reaching the World Cup last 16 came to an end as Canada came from behind to beat Vera Pauw’s side 2-1 in their second group game in Perth.
Ireland, who had opened what is their debut campaign at a major tournament finals with last week’s 1-0 loss to co-hosts Australia, were set for an historic victory after captain Katie McCabe gave them an early lead, audaciously scoring direct from a corner in the fourth minute.
But things turned around as a Megan Connolly own goal restored parity in first-half stoppage time, and Adriana Leon then put Canada in front eight minutes into the second half.
McCabe saw a subsequent strike deflect wide as Ireland sought an equaliser but were unable to hit back against the Olympic champions.
As Canada move to the top of Group B on four points, one clear of Australia having played a game more, Ireland are left knowing they will be heading home after facing Nigeria in their final pool match in Brisbane next Monday.
While there was disruption for Ireland just before kick-off as Heather Payne felt a tweak in her hamstring during the warm-up and was replaced in the team by Aine O’Gorman, they made a great start to the game, putting Canada under pressure almost immediately.
And after Kyra Carusa brought a third-minute save out Kailen Sheridan and the ball went behind, the resulting corner brought the Girls in Green their first World Cup goal thanks to an outrageous effort from their skipper.
McCabe sent the corner spinning goalwards and although Sheridan got a slight touch it was not enough as the ball went in off the far post.
Ireland’s early momentum continued with Sinead Farrelly having a shot pushed behind by Sheridan and McCabe skewing off-target as she attempted a low drive.
Canada then started to show some threat as Jordyn Huitema’s firm strike was saved by Courtney Brosnan and Vanessa Gilles passed up a good opportunity, poking over the Irish bar from close range.
Denise O’Sullivan shot over at the other end and a Carusa effort was dealt with by Sheridan before Canada pulled level in time added on prior to the interval when Julia Grosso’s cross was diverted into her own net by Connolly.
There was also time just before the break for a header wide from Gilles as Canada looked to strike another blow.
After Canada boss Bev Priestman, the former England assistant coach, then made a treble substitution at half-time, it took a fine Brosnan save to deny Huitema early in the second half.
And moments later Canada had the lead as Leon prodded in having received the ball from Sophie Schmidt, one of the trio to have come on.
Carusa subsequently headed over before Ireland were on the back foot again, Brosnan making saves from Christine Sinclair, another introduced at half-time, and Huitema.
Ireland’s further efforts to salvage a point included a McCabe shot going wide off a Canada shirt and another being blazed into the stand, and there was also a late shot from distance by substitute Lily Agg caught by Sheridan before the final whistle confirmed their campaign would not go beyond the group stage.
Published: by Radio NewsHub