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Colombia player slams Ireland for abandoning pre-World Cup friendly

Colombia's Daniela Caracas speaks with head coach Nelson Abadía during the 2022 Copa América final.(Gabriel Aponte/Getty Images)

One Colombia defender took offense to Ireland abandoning Friday’s friendly between the two World Cup teams.

The pre-tournament tune-up was halted after just 20 minutes, as Ireland felt the play became “overly physical,” the Football Association of Ireland announced. After the match, Colombia’s Daniela Caracas told a fan that the Ireland team could “eat s—” and described Ireland players as “little girls.”

“They are little girls,” she told the fan, as reported by the Telegraph and the Irish Independent. “There was a tackle and they started to complain. They said they were going to see if they wanted to continue playing or not, so our coach said we are not going to wait for them to decide.”

Irish midfielder Denise O’Sullivan had to be taken to the hospital after a hard hit to her shin, which caused the match to be abandoned. Scans did not reveal any fracture, although O’Sullivan is questionable for the team’s first World Cup game against Australia on July 20.

Ireland manager Vera Pauw said she was “shocked” by Caracas’ comments, noting that her players had “feared for their bodies” due to the rough nature of sliding challenges by Colombian players early on in the match.

“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 the atmosphere built up to becoming over-physical.

“Then there came a huge challenge on Denise, a challenge not within the rules of the game and she was in awful pain. I went to the coach of Colombia and I said: ‘I need help from you, we need to calm this down. We all want to go to the World Cup.’

Pauw took her team to the bench to calm down, which is where the decision was made to call the game, she said.

“The players were extremely upset and had fear for themselves. We are not a team who fear tackles or challenges,” she continued. “I took them away to calm things down, brought them to the bench. We discussed it and there was contact with the president and the CEO of the FAI.

“Collectively we knew it would not come right any more and if it went on we would put our players into a potentially serious situation. We had a calm discussion with the ref and they called off the game.”