Close to finals
Having won 4-0 in Austria on Saturday, Norway produced another clinical performance, taking their perfect Group 6 record to seven wins and 26 goals scored without reply. Even if their only remaining challengers Russia win their games against Austria and Poland, they would still probably need a four-goal victory against Norway to take first place in the group and an automatic place in the finals.
Solveig Gulbrandsen opened the scoring after 35 minutes, her ninth goal in qualifying putting her equal top of the rankings. Poland held Norway to 1-0 at the break but Lene Mykjåland completed a fine move early in the second half to double the lead and Isabell Herlovsen settled matters just before the end. Poland are now fourth behind Austria, who beat Israel today, and only a win against Russia on 27 September would give them any chance of reaching the play-offs.
Norway coach Bjarne Berntsen said: "We've played seven qualifiers without conceding a goal and in addition we also kept a clean sheet in the Algarve Cup bronze-medal match against Germany. Our new keeper Erika Skarbø has played five games now [since Bente Nordby retired from international football] and has not let in any goals."
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