Germany made a winning start to UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying but 2009 runners-up England and semi-finalists Norway suffered setbacks in their opening fixtures.
Aiming for a sixth straight European title, Germany overcame Switzerland 4-1 in their Group 2 fixture in Augsburg, Fatmire Bajramaj scoring twice in the holders' first game since the FIFA Women's World Cup quarter-final exit. Spain are the early group leaders after a 10-1 win in Turkey, which featured a Verónica Boquete hat-trick. Romania, who visit Switzerland on Wednesday, prevailed 3-0 in Kazakhstan.
England were Germany's opponents in the final in Helsinki two years ago but immediately face a challenge in Group 6 after drawing 2-2 with Serbia. The visitors were two up inside 19 minutes through Rachel Yankey and Sophie Bradley but Danka Podovac pulled one back with a free-kick and Vesna Smiljković equalised deep in added time. Serbia play the Netherlands on Wednesday, with England in action the following night againt Slovenia.
Iceland, who beat Bulgaria 6-0 in the first qualifier in May, are now in control of Group 3 after defeating top seeds Norway 3-1, two Hólmfrídur Magnúsdóttir strikes either side of a Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir penalty putting them three up inside 32 minutes. Belgium, visitors to Reykjavik on Wednesday, overcame Norway's next opponents, Hungary, 2-1.
The only other 2009 qualifiers in action on Saturday, Italy were grateful to an Alice Parisi penalty just before the break after Patrizia Panico had been fouled for a 1-0 Group 1 win in Bosnia and Herzegovina, though the Azzurre did dominate throughout. Ukraine, aiming to match their debut finals appearance last time around, began their Group 5 bid with a 4-1 success in Estonia on Sunday, Vira Dyatel and Daryna Apanaschenko both registering twice.
While Group 7 top seeds Denmark do not begin until Wednesday in Armenia, Portugal were in Yerevan today and won 8-0 with six different players on target. The Czech Republic, who reached the play-offs in 2005 and 2009, were held 1-1 by Austria in the same section despite having most of the possession as Iva Mocová and Marlies Hanschitz traded free-kicks. Another country that reached the 2009 play-offs, the Republic of Ireland, won 2-0 in Wales in Group 4 and join France − their opponents on Thursday − on three points.
The group winners and the runners-up with the best record against the top five in their section qualify automatically for the finals in Sweden, while the remaining second-placed sides will play off for the three other berths.
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