In the second stunner of the day, fourth-ranked USA beat top-ranked Ireland, 3-1, in the last Quarter Final of the day. The win gives the Americans a berth in the Semi-Finals where they will meet Scotland.
Ireland Head Coach Gene Muller said before the game of meeting the Americans in today’s game that it was the one opponent that he had hoped to avoid and his instincts proved to be correct. The U.S. has steadily improved throughout the tournament and player its best game yet today against Ireland.
In the first half, the Americans neutralized the Irish attack and spent much of the 35 minutes pressuring the Irish net. USA's Shannon Taylor put in two first-half markers to give her team a 2-0 lead at the half.
At the break, the Irish crowd was still hopeful that the two-goal deficit could be overcome, but USA’s Rachel Dawson quickly dashed their hopes as she put in the 3-0 goal after a picture-perfect cross-field pass just two minutes after the break.
Ireland got a glimmer of hope when Audrey O’Flynn converted a penalty corner 12 minutes into the second half to make it a 3-1 affair, but it would be as close as the Irish would come as the U.S. continued to thwart all scoring chances.
For Ireland, which was unbeaten entering today’s Quarter Final game, the loss is tough to accept after having so much success in front of its enthusiastic home crowd. The Irish will take on Azerbaijan in the first of its two placement games tomorrow.
The Semi-Final matches include the unlikely quartet of #4 Spain taking on #3 Japan and fourth-ranked USA facing second-ranked Scotland. The Scots were the only team with the higher preliminary round ranking to win its Quarter Final game.