ZURICH (AP)Ireland is going to its first Women’s World Cup next year and was joined by Switzerland as both won in the European playoffs on Tuesday, leaving Portugal to enter an intercontinental round.
A first-ever major tournament for Ireland’s women was the reward for Amber Barrett’s 72nd-minute goal sealing a 1-0 win at Scotland.
Barrett outpaced the Scottish defense to score with a well-placed shot and ensure the Irish will be at the finals tournament co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
Switzerland had to wait until stoppage time at the end of extra time to take the lead in a 2-1 win against Wales.
Substitute Fabienne Humm was decisive with a flicked shot from a tight angle after racing to meet a low cross from the left wing.
Portugal also won its playoff in extra time, 4-1 against an Iceland team reduced to 10 players when the game was goalless early in the second half. Aslaug Munda Gunnlaugsdottir was sent off for a foul conceding the penalty that Carole Costa scored to lead in the 55th.
However, Portugal had to wait for the result of the later game in Scotland to see if its Women’s World Cup debut was assured.
Only two direct World Cup entries were on offer Tuesday, awarded to the teams with the overall best record in qualifying. Those were Switzerland and Ireland.
Portugal now goes to the 10-team intercontinental playoffs round in February in New Zealand where the final three entries will be decided.
FIFA will make the finals tournament draw on Oct. 22 in Auckland with only 29 of the 32 teams confirmed.
Australia and New Zealand are hosting the first 32-team Women’s World Cup from July 20-Aug. 20 where the United States will defend its title.
AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup