Marissa Callaghan and her Northern Ireland team are set to make their major tournament debut at Euro 2022 when they take on Norway in the opener. They are the lowest-ranked team in the competition and face the monumental task of progressing through a group that has Austria and England. They qualified for the main draw after a victory over Ukraine in the playoffs.
“We go out every game with the belief that we can win it, you have to. We’re footballers, we want to strive to be our best. You can’t go into any game thinking, ‘this is going to be tough, they’re going to beat us,” Northern Ireland captain Marissa Callaghan said. “It’s always been our way from Kenny [Shiels, manager] coming in that every single game we’re preparing to win. That will be the mindset that we go out with on Thursday. Obviously, we know exactly how hard that challenge is going to be, we know the caliber of player and team we’re up against. But we’re here, we’re in the top 16 teams in Europe and we’re here to cause an upset and we’re not just here to make up numbers.”
“I’m so proud, so honored. It’s a dream come true for any little girl to lead their country and captain their country. I still have to pinch myself that it’s my title. We’ve been on this incredible journey and this is the pinnacle, this is what we’ve all worked hard for, this is something that was almost beyond our wildest dreams,” she added. “When we were young we had to go and play with the boys or go and play in the street and almost force somewhere to play the game. Now, fast-forward, the opportunities are endless and just recently at Windsor (Park) we had almost 16,000 fans there. There was nothing going to stop me from getting here.”