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Swiss on the up as Irish rue narrow margins

Republic of Ireland 0-1 Switzerland
Alisha Lehmann's second-half goal settled a close contest to boost Swiss qualifying hopes but dent those of the Republic in Group B.

Switzerland's Naomi Mégroz competes with Republic of Ireland's Roma McLaughlin
Switzerland's Naomi Mégroz competes with Republic of Ireland's Roma McLaughlin ©Sportsfile

Unbeaten Swiss well placed in Group B but Ireland bottom after two narrow defeats
Forward Alisha Lehmann scores 55th-minute clincher from left corner of area
Goalkeepers Nadja Furrer and Amanda McQuillan both make fine saves in first half
Norway v Ireland and France v Switzerland next up on Sunday

Switzerland strengthened their claim to a top-two spot in Group B with a 1-0 win against a Republic of Ireland side who, for the second time in as many matchdays, were undone by a single second-half goal.

Alisha Lehmann struck on 55 minutes at Laugardalsvöllur in Reykjavik as Ireland's defensive resistance was finally broken, with the resulting victory moving Monica Di Fonzo's team onto four points while Dave Connell's tireless Republic outfit are still to get off the mark at this UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship.

Switzerland, for all their attacking prowess, had drawn 2-2 with Norway on Monday and despite taking the initiative here they struggled to find a way through the doughty Irish back line. In fact Ireland had the best early opportunity when Nadja Furrer saved a good shot from Eleanor Ryan-Doyle. Switzerland's standout moment of the first half saw Amanda McQuillan come out of her goal swiftly and decisively to stifle Lara Jenzer's dangerous approach.

It remained a tight contest after the break, until the Alpine side's pressure paid off 15 minutes in when No10 Lehmann let fly a 20-metre strike from the left angle of the box that arced over McQuillan into the right corner. That proved an effective wake-up call for the Irish and Ryan-Doyle and Sarah McKevitt were both denied by custodian Furrer. However, not even the late introduction of forward Lucy McCartan could conjure an equaliser for the Republic, still with nothing to show for their group-stage efforts.

David Connell, Republic of Ireland
I think we deserved some points out of this game but I am very proud of the girls, especially in the second half with their strong performance when they created a lot of chances. Maybe we could have scored but it was not our day. Our strategy is based on a strong back line and we certainly have that, so it took a very good individual goal from Switzerland to win the game. We mixed that defence with attacking intent and had some chances but did not put them away. At this stage you have to score goals. Again, this was a great effort and a good performance. These games are physically demanding and we do not have the resources of other countries, so we rely on the girls to prepare themselves. They really put in a good shift. We will definitely go into the next game looking to get a good result. We are hungry for three points and will try to score, but no matter how that game goes, the girls can hold their heads high – it has been a great achievement just to get here.

Monica Di Fonzo, Switzerland
It was a very tough game and we expended a lot of nerves and energy – there were lots of tackles and challenges – though it was not such a good game. But we won so we are satisfied with the result. Ireland have qualified for this stage and beat England along the way – they deserve to be in the finals so it was not so easy. We were ready for the Irish defence as we had watched their first match. We will now go over this game and figure out what we need to do against France when they play against Norway tonight. We have never played against the French team, but we saw them against Ireland as well as in the friendly they had against Germany. It would be good if Norway won, but so far I am pleased with the performances of my team and on Sunday we will challenge for a place in the semi-finals.