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Wright Headed to U-19 European Semifinals

July 21, 2014
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M rising sophomore Grace Wright played all 270 minutes for the Republic of Ireland as the squad topped Group B of the UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship Final Tournament with a 3-0 record to earn a spot in the semifinals.

On Monday, Ireland bested Sweden 2-1. The Girls in Green posted a 1-0 win over Spain to open the tournament last Tuesday and added a 2-1 win over England last Friday.

Ireland, the only squad among the eight participants to win all three of their group stage matches, advances to play the Netherlands in a semifinal match on Thursday (July 24) with the championship match slated for Sunday (July 27). Spain faces Norway in the other semifinal fixture.

Ireland, who never appeared in the previous 16 European U-19 Championship Final Tournaments played since 1998 (U-18 from 1998-2001), entered play as the relative underdog among the eight squads but have already toppled three of the top 10 sides in the world. Although there is not a separate U19 ranking, the Republic of Ireland program ranks 20th among UEFA sides in the FIFA World Rankings. The three teams Ireland has defeated are ranked third (Sweden), fourth (England) and ninth (Spain).

Wright represents the lone player on the squad hailing from a United States college program.

For her career, Wright has made 13 appearances for the national team, including two matches with the Ireland U17 squad in qualifying for the 2012 UEFA European Championships and 11 matches with the U19 team.

As a freshman, the College Station resident appeared in 18 matches, including eight starts. She logged two assists on the season, including setting up Liz Keester’s game-winning goal in the 84th minute of A&M’s 2-1 win over Florida in the SEC Tournament championship match.

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