Goals win games! That’s an easy motto to remember, right? Except it’s not a simple feat to accomplish. But that won’t act as a deterrent to Donegal's Amber Barrett.
The Republic of Ireland international made it look so natural when she lobbed the opposition goalkeeper in last November’s draw away to Greece. It was an example of what top strikers do: make scoring goals appear so effortless.
Barrett will be hoping to add to her tally tonight as Vera Pauw’s team welcome Greece to Tallaght Stadium and again when they travel to Montenegro for a crunch showdown on March 11th. But she is not taking anything for granted.
“Having dropped two points away to Greece, we will be doing everything we can to win at home. However we know how difficult it will be and how Greece are very capable of making it difficult for us,” said Barrett.
“The next two games are going to be extremely important for our qualification aspirations. We’ll be hoping to take six points from the two games but one game at a time.”
Donegal native Barrett reckons that a key part to the team’s arsenal tonight could be the support of the home crowd. The bumper attendances for the wins over Montenegro and Ukraine last year created a vibrant atmosphere that pushed the players on.
Now that they are returning to Tallaght Stadium tonight, Barrett hopes for more of the same with a large crowd again expected to support the Girls in Green.
“The crowd that attended the Ukraine game were nothing short of fantastic, they were loud and didn’t stop singing and shouting for 90-plus minutes,” recalled Barrett.
“Every game we play at home is an advantage, especially if we’re able to get a big crowd into the game. The bar has been set high so we expect good crowds for our games and we want the crowds to keep growing. A packed Tallaght gives us a huge lift.”
The importance of this game for Ireland should not be underestimated as a place at next year’s UEFA European Championships in England is at stake and three points are required to boost qualification hopes.
Ireland have yet to qualify for a major tournament at senior level, but does FC Koln striker Barrett feel that can change with this current group of players?
“Of course we believe it’s achievable, everyone has put in so much hard work, time and effort over the years to make qualification for a major tournament possible,” stated Barrett.
“We know we have a long way to go in the group and we are certainly not getting ahead of ourselves. But two positive results over the next two games could really push us even closer.”