Three years on from the final whistle in Limerick Ireland at the European Nations Cup, Irelands destiny at the third FIPFA World Cup came and went in four action packed days in Kissimmee Florida, and now join the annals of memories of tournaments of the past. Sitting in sixth place in the World, Ireland experienced a myriad of emotions from the first whistle against England to the final whistle on the World Cup journey against Japan.
A strong performance against England in Ireland’s opening game was followed up that same day by a tough lesson in the levels that were still needed to aspire to against the eventual World Cup champions France. Day two promised but ultimately failed to deliver against the Australians, leading to a must win game with Canada to progress to the latter stages, with Team Ireland finally registering four goals and gaining some confidence, and setting up a quarter final clash with the World Cup hosts USA. Again Ireland started off spirited but as in the earlier pool games were getting caught at the set pieces and there was no fairytale shock exit for the hosts as they progressed on to the semi finals and a repeat of the 2011 final pairing against England. Team Ireland moved on to take on Uruguay to determine their placing for Sunday’s finale and a two nil win was just rewards for the effort put in as the train rolled on towards the fifth sixth play-off with the Japanese waiting at the next stop. An early goal by Ireland again got a buzz going for the crowd of irish supporters of what might have been, but again some defensive errors were costly as Japan got themselves back in the game and eventually pulled ahead to leaveIreland with a sixth place finish. The final itself was a worthy showcase of the game with France who had just fallen short in the previous two world cups finally getting their hands on the coveted trophy. Team Ireland also went home with a trophy the FIPFA Fair Play award.