Soccer-Ireland reached Women's World Cup 'in spite' of Pauw, says Caldwell

FILE PHOTO:Soccer Football - FIFA Women's World Cup - UEFA Qualifiers - Scotland v Republic of Ireland - Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain - October 11, 2022 Republic of Ireland's Diane Caldwell celebrates winning the match to qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup REUTERS/Molly Darlington/File Photo

(Reuters) - Ireland defender Diane Caldwell said her team reached the Women's World Cup "in spite" of their former coach Vera Pauw and that she had failed to get the best out of the players due to inadequate preparations.

The 60-year-old Dutch coach led Ireland to their first major tournament this year in Australia and New Zealand, where they exited in the group stage.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) launched a review of the team's performance and said it would not renew Pauw's contract, which expired at the end of August.

"I think the results and performances that we got were in spite of Vera being our coach," Caldwell told reporters on Monday ahead of Ireland's upcoming match against Northern Ireland.

The 35-year-old, whose only appearance at the World Cup was as a stoppage time substitute in their final game against Nigeria, said preparations were not up to "the standard expected at international level".

"I think preparation for games could have been better, physical preparation, opponent analysis, match tactics, in-game match tactics, changes, systems of play," she said, adding that players had asked Pauw to "professionalise" various aspects of their preparations.

Pauw, who has been replaced by interim coach Eileen Gleeson, has said FAI executives undermined her position at the World Cup.

She also said the FAI's attitude towards her changed after The Athletic published an article in July containing allegations of "abusive and inappropriate" behaviour during her time as manager of Houston Dash in the American top-flight NWSL.

Pauw "absolutely refuted" the allegations.

(Reporting by Pearl Josephine Nazare in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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