Northern Ireland pledge to fight for injured Simone Magill against Austria

Northern Ireland’s captain Marissa Callaghan, has said her side will play Monday’s Women’s Euro 2022 match against Austria in honour of their injured striker Simone Magill. Magill sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury during Northern Ireland’s opening game, a 4-1 hammering at the hands of Norway in Group A.

Callaghan believes her teammate’s injury will serve as an added incentive to the rest of the side as they look to bounce back with a positive result against Austria on Monday. “The girls have been heartbroken for Simone,” the captain said. “She’s a really important player for us and, not only that, she’s a close friend.

“We always speak about this family unit we have and there were a lot of tears for her but it’s a massive incentive for us to go out and get a result for her. Tomorrow night it will be for Simone.”

Austria pushed England hard in the opening game of the tournament, with the hosts only securing victory by a solitary goal, but Callaghan expects an improved Northern Ireland performance from their first match.

“It’s an incredible thing to be here at a major tournament and the big thing for us is that we won’t be as nervous. That’s all out of the way and this is the second game against a team that we’re really familiar with.

“We’ve played Austria twice in the last eight months, so we’ll go out and hopefully we’ll enjoy the game and hopefully get a result.

“I thought Austria were brilliant against England. They set up really well and gave England a really good game. They are a top side.”

The Austria defender Carina Wenninger admitted the pressure is higher than their opening match at Old Trafford but remains positive ahead of the south-coast clash on Monday. “Expectations and the pressure is higher than it was in the first match,” Wenninger said. “We can spin it any way we want – that’s a fact. But, in general, it is nice that expectations exist.

“Me and the team think it is a good chance for us to play our football and approach the whole thing in a positive manner.”