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Euro 2025 qualifiers: Battling Republic of Ireland beaten by Katoto's early French goal

The Republic of Ireland were defeated 1-0 by France in their opening game of the Euro 2025 qualifiers in Metz.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto's close-range strike proved to be the only goal in a game of few chances for the hosts.

Eileen Gleeson's side recovered from the early goal and showed resilience to deny the home side a more comfortable lead.

Another tough task awaits the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday as they welcome European champions England to Dublin.

France dominated from the get-go and immediately tested the Republic of Ireland defence with Caitlin Hayes having to make a good clearance to divert an early corner.

They broke the deadlock in the sixth minute when Kenza Dali's free-kick was steered across the face of goal by Maelle Lakrar, with Katoto able to guide the ball home from the back post.

Set-pieces proved to be an issue for the visitors with Kadidiatou Diani's corner causing a scramble in the box, which left Griedge Mbock unmarked, but her resulting strike was off target.

Sandie Toletti's powerful effort required a superb save from Courtney Brosnan and she then had to be alert to collect Dali's free-kick in the final minute of first half additional time.

Brosnan remained busy, preventing France from going further ahead by making a diving save to stop Lakrar's strike from finding the bottom right-hand corner.

France continued to be in command and substitute Eugenie Le Sommer nearly made an instant impact as she rose highest to connect with a looping cross, her header only denied by the crossbar.

The Republic of Ireland pushed for an equaliser in the final 10 minutes. They had a good opportunity when substitute Leanne Kiernan found space and travelled forward, but she opted to test Pauline Peyraud-Magnin herself rather than passing to the onrushing Katie McCabe and her resulting strike was wide.