A pre-Women’s World Cup friendly between the Republic of Ireland and Colombia was abandoned after it was deemed “overly physical,” the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said in a statement.
The behind-closed-doors match in Brisbane, Australia ended after 20 minutes, the FAI said on Friday, with the team proceeding to take part in a full training session instead.
“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 FAI said, per Reuters. CNN has reached out to the FAI.
One of Ireland’s key players, midfielder Denise O’Sullivan, had an x-ray and scans on an injury sustained during the friendly. On Saturday, the FAI said the player had avoided a fracture.
Ireland head coach Vera Pauw told Sky Sports on Saturday that her players “feared for themselves.”
“It was something I had never experienced before in my 47 years being involved in football, not as a player, not as a coach,” Pauw said.
“It started lively, a good game, normal, and then it built an atmosphere up in which it became over physical … Then there came a huge challenge on Denise. It was a typical challenge that is not within the rules of the game, and she was in awful pain … The players were extremely upset and had fear for themselves. We are not a team that has fear of tackles or fear of challenges or fear of anything.”
In a statement, the Colombian Football Federation (FCF) said the game was suspended “due to Ireland’s National Team, rival of the practice this Friday, preferring not to continue playing when 23 minutes of the first half had already taken place.
“If all of the processes and trainings of our national teams are based on the rules of the game, healthy competition and Fair Play, among other things, we respect the decision of our rival national team.”
The Women’s World Cup, hosted by Australia and New Zealand, starts on July 20. Ireland begins its campaign against Australia on the opening day, while Colombia’s first match is against South Korea on July 25.