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Ireland ‘feared for their bodies’ in pre-WWC friendly – boss

Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw has said her players “feared for their bodies” during a Women’s World Cup warm-up match with Colombia that was called off after 20 minutes following a series of robust challenges.

The Irish Football Association confirmed midfielder Denise O’Sullivan was taken to hospital for treatment on a shin injury during the friendly at Meakin Park, Brisbane, but was found not to have suffered a fracture and could still play for Ireland at the tournament.

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“We do not fear any physical contact, you know that, we are ourselves a team, that within the rules of the game, we are a very tough playing team,” Pauw told Irish radio show Off The Ball.

“The players, [for] the first time since I am coaching them, they feared, they feared for their bodies.”

The match was Ireland’s final warm-up match ahead of their World Cup opener against Australia on July 20.

The Colombian FA also released a statement which said the Irish team “preferred not to continue” and added “we follow the rules of fair play.”

“It was something I had never experienced before in my 47 years being involved in football, not as a player, not as a coach,” Pauw added to Sky Sports. “It started lively, a good game, normal, and then the atmosphere built up to becoming over-physical.

“Then there came a huge challenge on Denise, a challenge not within the rules of the game and she was in awful pain. I went to the coach of Colombia and I said: ‘I need help from you, we need to calm this down. We all want to go to the World Cup.”

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