World Cup Kick Off For Soccer Ladies

The Northern Ireland senior women's football team will turn out next month at Windsor Park in a vital international match, writes Natalie McCullough.

They will take on France in a 2011 World Cup Qualifier, which is actually a 'double header' with the away game on Saturday March 27th and the return fixture at Windsor Park on the 31st. It is the first time the team (pictured) will have played in the national stadium.

"I'm delighted for the girls, for getting an opportunity like this and excited, about the prospect of playing at Windsor Park," said National Women's Coach, Alfie Wylie. "There's also an element of pride in it as an international coach, watching his side play in such a venue."

In all previous outings, the squad has played their matches in other club grounds around Northern Ireland because their matches have often clashed with the senior men's games, Linfield home fixtures and the various cup ties, played at Windsor Park.

However, careful planning at the start of the season has granted the women's side this opportunity.
News Image
The games against France, mark the third and fourth of Northern Ireland's 10 World Cup qualifiers.

Winning away in Croatia and losing at home to Iceland, Alfie is confident about the upcoming matches.

"We can't deny that this is a tough group. Both France and Iceland are ranked in the top 10 in Europe.

"However, the average age of the teams we have played and will play, is between 26 and 30," he said.

"The average age of our squad is just 20 years and six months. The girls have so much they can learn from this campaign and we haven't set the bar too high."

Playing at Windsor Park is an indication of just how far women's football in Northern Ireland is progressing.

"The girls are relishing this opportunity and irrespective of the result, it is a chance for us to measure ourselves against a top quality side like France.

"It also reflects the levels of interest in women's football today. It shows that we can be taken seriously at international level, by hosting France in a venue like Windsor Park," added Alfie.

As part of their preparation for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers, the team will take on Wales on February 24 at the Oval, kick-off 4pm.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

12 December 2019
Women Tied Up In South Belfast Burglary
Two women have been assaulted and tied up during an aggravated burglary in south Belfast, police have said. Three men forced their way inside a property on Ashley Avenue at around 11.30pm on Wednesday night, 11 December. Two women, aged 38 and 40, who were inside at the time were assaulted by the intruders before being tied up.
20 March 2020
Moy Park Recruiting Hundreds Of Temporary Staff
Hundreds of jobs have been made available at Moy Park sites across Northern Ireland as the firm works to fulfil demand from shoppers. The poultry company has seen a sharp increase in demand as grocery retail sales soar amid the coronavirus outbreak.
01 July 2016
Tributes Paid After Linfield Supporter Dies At Windsor Park
Linfield Football Club has paid tribute to a supporter who collapsed and died during a football match at Windsor Stadium in Belfast. Emergency services rushed to help the man however they were unable to save him.
02 May 2018
Carl Frampton To Fight At Windsor Park In August
Belfast boxer Carl Frampton has confirmed that his next fight will be at Windsor Park on 18 August. His opponent is yet to be confirmed. Speaking to BT Sport, Frampton said: "This is the one - a dream come true. I'm the happiest I've ever been in my career.
19 February 2018
Northern Ireland To Play Israel At Windsor Park
Northern Ireland are to play against Israel in a friendly international on Tuesday, 11 September. The match will take place at Windsor Park at 7.45pm. The game comes three days after Northern Ireland play Bosnia and Herzegovina in the UEFA Nations League at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.