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Tuesday 12 Mar 2024
Classy Spain prove too strong for WU16s

Northern Ireland’s Women’s Under-16 development team were outclassed by Spain in their second game in a four-team UEFA WU16 development tournament which is being hosted by the Irish Football Association in Belfast this week.


UEFA Women’s U16 Development Tournament


Northern Ireland WU16 0-5 Spain WU16


Spain: Ivet Franch (5’) (29’), Claudia Indias (7’), Julie Torres (34’), Adriana Alvarez (64’)


Seaview Stadium, Belfast


12 March 2024

Team News

WU16s head coach Julie Nelson rang the changes for the WU16 team’s second outing in the UEFA development tournament.

Coming in to the team were defenders Chloe Beckinsale and Lillie Horner, midfielder Charlotte Havern and forwards Anna Walsh and Mia Snoddy.

Goalkeeper Abbie Smith, defenders Caitlin Carlisle and Sophie Hutchinson, midfielder Sophie Pollock and strikers Mia Reilly and Lucy Kelly retained their places in the starting 11 from the opening game against Belgium, which Northern Ireland lost 4-2.

How it happened

Spain, who defeated Iceland 2-1 in their opening game, went for the jugular from the start and were two up after seven minutes.

Attacker Ivet Franch swept the ball home after getting on the end of a corner and then a defensive mistake allowed fellow attacker Claudia Indias to slot the ball home from close range.

The Spanish continued to press and Northern Ireland’s defence were on the back foot for long spells.

Spain had a few efforts on goal, and Northern Ireland keeper Abbie Smith handled well, before they added a third just before the half-hour mark, Franch scoring her second of the game with a powerful header from a corner.

They went four up on 34 minutes when midfielder Julia Torres fired a free-kick into the top corner. It was a fine strike.

Half-time: Northern Ireland WU16 0-4 Spain WU16

Daniela Saenz scooped a shot over the top as the Spanish continued to attack after the break, and then substitute Beatriz Perez tested Smith.

The Northern Ireland defence held firm until the 64th minute when Spanish substitute Adriana Alvarez made it five with a sweet strike from 20 yards out. The ball whizzed past Smith into the net.

Striker Elena Lara fired a shot inches over the bar, while fellow attacker Alvarez had another powerful shot from distance which was just off target.

Spain played some fine football throughout the game. Their movement and touch were impressive, and they deservedly ran out winners.

Next up for Northern Ireland is their third and final game in the tournament against Iceland at Seaview on Friday (15 March). Kick-off time is 4pm.

Full-time: Northern Ireland WU16 0-5 Spain WU16


Northern Ireland WU16: Abbie Smith, Caitlin Carlisle (captain), Chloe Beckinsale, Sophie Hutchinson, Lillie Horner, Sophie Pollock, Lucy Kelly, Anna Walsh, Mia Reilly, Mia Snoddy, Charlotte Havern.

Substitutes: (used) Maja Stachura, Ava Hurl, Jessica McGuinness, Caitie McGurnaghan, Tara Kerr, Natnicha Mills, Ellie McLarnon; (unused) Lily Jeffery (GK).

Spain WU16: Antia Veiga, Julia Pastor, Julia Torres, Noa Jimenez, Claudia Indias, Celia Gomez, Elena Lara, Iraia Fernandez, Ivet Franch, Raquel Zuazo, Daniela Saenz.

Substitutes: Alba Fuertes (GK), Carlota Martins, Elia Garrigos, Avril Serrano, Beatriz Perez, Anna Quer, Candela Rodriguez, Clara Raspall, Carlota Chacon, Angela Cabezas, Daniella Gonzalez, Adriana Alvarez, Claudia Barrios.