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Friday 15 Mar 2024
WU16s battle hard against Iceland

Northern Ireland’s Women’s Under-16 team had an entertaining tussle with Iceland in their third and final game in the UEFA WU16 development tournament staged in Belfast this week.


UEFA Women’s U16 Development Tournament


Northern Ireland WU16 1-1 Iceland WU16

(Iceland won 3-2 on penalties)


Northern Ireland: Sophie Hutchinson (63’)

Iceland: Fanney Johannesdottir (9’)


Seaview Stadium, Belfast


15 March 2024

Team News

WU16s head coach Julie Nelson tweaked the starting line-up once again for the WU16 team’s final outing in the development tournament, which was organised by the Irish Football Association on behalf of UEFA.

The Northern Ireland team showed several changes from the side that started the 5-0 defeat against Spain. A handful of players who were on the bench for that match, but had been starters in game one against Belgium (4-2 defeat), returned to the starting 11.

They included striker Maja Stachura, defenders Ellie McLarnon and Tara Kerr as well as midfielders Natnicha Mills and Jessica McGuinness.

Coming in to the starting line-up for the first time were goalkeeper Zara Maguire, who replaced the injured Abbie Smith, and striker Ava Hurl.

How it happened

A physically strong Iceland team were on the front foot from the off. They opted for measured build-ups rather than the more direct style deployed in their first two matches.

Centre forward Fanney Johannesdottir proved to be a handful and she opened the scoring on nine minutes with an ice cool finish.

Northern Ireland keeper Zara Maguire produced a fine save to keep out a low drive from winger Thelma Palmadottir and then she managed to push a snapshot from Johannesdottir on to the inside of the post before the ball was cleared by a defender.

Maguire kept out a powerful shot from Hekla Ingvarsdottir and for once Johannesdottir fluffed her lines when she put the rebound wide from close range.

Thelma Palmadottir screwed an effort wide before Maguire pushed away another Johannesdottir drive on the stroke of half-time.

Half-time: Northern Ireland WU16 0-1 Iceland WU16

Having weathered the storm in the first half, Northern Ireland played with much more purpose after the break.

On 50 minutes Northern Ireland substitute Sophie Hutchinson rose well to meet a free-kick and her powerful header was pushed away by Iceland substitute keeperNinna Porsteinsdottir.

The Iceland keeper was called into action again to save at the feet of striker Maja Stachura.

In the 63rd minute Northern Ireland equalised. Hutchinson (No 5 - pictured) fired in a free-kick from over 30 yards out which hit the underside of the bar and bounced down over the goal-line.

Maguire superbly smothered a Thelma Palmadottir effort as Iceland looked to restore their lead, while Northern Ireland striker Stachura scooped a shot inches over the top. And Maguire tipped a shot from Iceland substitute Vala Sturludottir round the post as Iceland upped the tempo.

In added time Northern Ireland captain Jessica McGuinness fired a free-kick over the bar from distance.

The game went to a penalty shootout which Iceland won 3-2.

The overall tournament winners were Spain, who registered victories in all three of their matches at Seaview.

Full-time: Northern Ireland WU16 1-1 Iceland WU16 (3-2 pens)


Northern Ireland WU16: Zara Maguire, Caitie McGurnaghan, Chloe Beckinsale, Ellie McLarnon, Tara Kerr, Sophie Pollock, Jessica McGuinness (captain), Natnicha Mills, Maja Stachura, Lucy Kelly, Ava Hurl.

Substitutes: (used) Sophie Hutchinson, Charlotte Havern, Mia Reilly, Anna Walsh: (unused) Caitlin Carlisle, Mia Snoddy.

Iceland WU16: Anna Arnardottir, Hrafnhildur Palmadottir, Hekla Ingvarsdottir, Anika Jonsdottir, Soley Ingadottir, Agusta Valtysdottir, Rebekka Brynjarsdottir, Sunna Siguroardottir (captain), Fanney Johannesdottir, Thelma Palmadottir, Hildur Snorradottir.

Substitutes: Ninna Porsteinsdottir (GK), Ragnheidur Hjaltalin, Kristin Barboza, Edith Kristjansdottir, Vala Sturludottir, Camilly Kristal Da Silva, Lilja Gudjonsdottir, Isabel Ragnarsdottir, Elisa Bjornsdottir.