Ireland back strong for last two group games – Bell

Despite the defeat to Germany, the mood in the mixed zone had positive tones as Ireland look to turn performances into points in their closing two games later this week.

Looking back, defender Jonny Bell said the side will use the impetus for the key ties against Canada on Thursday and Argentina on Friday.

“We put in some really good phases during the game and caused the Germans some real problems but we just conceded one too many. It was nice to get that goal at the end and put them on the back foot but, unfortunately, we couldn’t grab an equaliser.

Jonathan Bell makes an important intervention in Ireland's game with Germany. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek

Jonathan Bell makes an important intervention in Ireland’s game with Germany. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek/WSP

“Our heads aren’t down but we haven’t got the results we wanted. There is good togetherness and unity in our group and we will be back strong for the last two games.

“There has been gradual improvement and we are getting into our stride, playing our patterns better, probably looking more like the Ireland that people know. That’s positive going into the last two games.”

Coach Craig Fulton said the first two quarters were strong but the standard fell away in the third which proved costly.

“It was really encouraging up to half-time; we needed a win or a draw and came up just short. We started off nice and composed and scored before half-time which was important.

“We conceded that penalty corner which was a tough one to take and the third quarter wasn’t our best, making two or three mistakes. We knew last quarter we have the legs but came up just short.

“We played well but the details can hurt you in defence. Against a team like that, they will take their chances. We still need six points; I am not sure if it will be enough but, at the same time, we are going for all the points we can get.”

Speaking about the change in approach from the 5-0 defeat against the Netherlands, he added: “Our defence definitely improved; they are a good team and the stats will probably prove they had more circle entries than us but our composure was good and we ran hard in the heat.

“We did ourselves justice. You come off the back of a 5-0 loss and the character is determined by how the team responds and they definitely did today. I am proud of the guys.”

David Harte concurred before adding that Canada’s game on Thursday takes on a big significance now as they look to give the green machine fans even more to cheer about.

“We always potentially knew that it could come down to a must-win against Canada but now it’s two must-win games if we are to progress to the quarter-finals.

“But the guys are in good stead and everyone is relishing the opportunity and if our crowd keeps turning up in more and more numbers each day in voice like they were, it was a phenomenal feeling to play in front of.

“To travel the whole way to South America and to have that many green shirts is a really special feeling!”

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