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Northern Ireland squad named


Tanya Oxtoby has named her squad for this month’s Euro qualifiers against Malta and Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The Northern Ireland senior women’s team manager has selected the same 23 players who faced Portugal home and away in late May/early June.


Northern Ireland’s campaign in the league phase of qualifiers for UEFA Women’s Euro 2025 will draw to a close when they take on Malta away in Ta’Qali on Friday 12 July and the Bosnians at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park on Tuesday 16 July.


Oxtoby’s team currently sit third in League B Group 3 with four points from four matches. Top seeds Portugal lead the way with 12 from four, while second seeds Bosnia and Herzegovina are in second with six points from four matches.


Malta drew with Northern Ireland in their opening fixture, however they are currently propping up the table with just a single point from four matches.


The aim for Oxtoby and her players is to finish in second or third in the group, which will guarantee they enter play-offs for places at next year’s Euros in Switzerland. A win against Malta on 12 July would see Northern Ireland advance to the play-offs phase of the qualifiers.


The Bosnians are due to meet Portugal at home on 12 July before travelling to Belfast for their final game in the group.


Oxtoby said she felt the squad had done “exceptionally well” in the last international window, especially in the narrow 2-1 defeat to Portugal at Mourneview Park in early June. She said her squad selection this time around reflected that.


“We are keen to keep the momentum going and obviously this group (of players) is really together and looking forward to the next challenge,” she added.


The Northern Ireland boss further revealed that everyone involved with the team is determined to “put right the wrongs” from the campaign opener against Malta in April which ended in a goalless draw. Northern Ireland created several more chances than the Maltese in the game but could not find the net.


She said the team’s full focus would go into producing a performance in Malta on 12 July that would achieve the desired result.


Cliftonville Ladies midfielder Louise McDaniel, who was a late call-up to the Northern Ireland squad in May, replacing injured Rangers midfielder Megan Bell, has retained her place in the panel for this month’s games.


Bell, London City Lionesses midfielder Connie Scofield and Birmingham City Women defender/midfielder Ellie Mason are all still unavailable due to injury.


(irishfa.com)