Nelson celebrates goal after ‘difficult week’

Northern Ireland gained their first points of the qualifying campaign for the 2019 Women’s World Cup by beating Slovakia in Zilina on Tuesday.

Alfie Wylie’s side had to come from behind after skipper Jana Vojtekova shot Slovakia into a 20th-minute lead from close range after a corner.

Julie Nelson drilled in the equaliser after an indirect free awarded when the home keeper picked up a back pass.

Second-half goals by Rachel Furness and Caragh Milligan sealed the victory.

Furness headed in on 52 minutes and and the Reading midfielder then provided the low delivery for Milligan to net from just a few yards out in the 61st minute.

Slovakia are 43rd in the Fifa rankings – 17 places ahead of Northern Ireland.

It was Northern Ireland’s first World Cup win for more than three years, the last being a 3-0 victory over the Faroe Islands in September 2014.

Northern Ireland’s match against Slovakia followed Group Three defeats by Norway and the Republic of Ireland and their next qualifier is away to the Netherlands on 6 April.

Eight European teams, plus hosts France, will play in the 24-team World Cup finals from 7 June to 7 July in 2019.

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