A friendly match between FIFA Women's World Cup-bound teams Ireland and Colombia was abandoned after becoming overly physical, according to the Irish Football Association (FAI). The game, which was held behind closed doors at Meakin Park in Brisbane, Australia was ended after just 20 minutes of play following a bad challenge on Ireland midfielder Denise O'Sullivan.
O'Sullivan, who plays for North Carolina Courage in the US National Women's Soccer League, was taken to hospital for a scan on her shin after being on the receiving end of an "overly robust tackle" from a Colombian player. The FAI said in a statement that the match officials and the Ireland bench agreed to call off the game, which was intended as a final tune-up for both teams ahead of the World Cup.
A statement from the Football Association of Ireland said, “The behind-closed-doors game between the Ireland women’s national team and Colombia on Friday evening was ended after 20 minutes of play. The game, which was held in Meakin Park, Brisbane, became overly physical and it was decided, following consultation with the match officials, to end the game.”
The statement continued, "The Ireland team then underwent a full training session to continue preparations for their opening game in FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, against Australia in Sydney on 20 July."
The FAI did not provide any further details on O'Sullivan's condition or whether she would be fit for the World Cup opener. The incident marred what was supposed to be a friendly encounter between two teams that qualified for the World Cup for the first time in their history.
The World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, will kick off on July 20 and run until August 20 with both teams in Group C at the World Cup, along with hosts Australia and Nigeria. Vera Pauw’s Ireland are also set to face Canada in Perth on July 26 and then Nigeria in Brisbane five days later.