After some surprises on the opening full weekend of UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying, the established order reasserted itself on Wednesday with victories for 2009 finalists Norway, Denmark, Russia and the Netherlands.
Two-time champions Norway, semi-finalists last time, were eager to get off the mark after an initial 3-1 loss in Iceland. They duly responded in Oslo by overwhelming Hungary 6-0 courtesy of an Isabell Herlovsen double and one each from Solfrid Andersen, Ingvild Stensland, Marita Lund and substitute Gry Tofte Ims. Iceland are four points clear of Norway, having played a game more, after their 100% record was ended by a 0-0 home draw with Belgium, themselves three points back.
Russia, under new coach Farid Benstiti, faced a tricky trip to Poland in Group 1 but drew level with Italy on three points with a 2-0 victory, Elena Morozova's 18th-minute goal complemented late on by Ekaterina Sochneva. Denmark launched their Group 7 bid with a 5-0 win in Armenia, who also lost heavily at home to Portugal on Saturday, Kristine Petersen, Sanne Troelsgaard, Pernille Harder, Line Jensen and Theresa Nielsen the scorers.
Serbia had made a fine start to Group 6 with an eye-catching 2-2 home draw with 2009 runners-up England yet today fell 6-0 to the Netherlands, semi-finalists two years ago. Manon Melis inflicted most of the damage for the hosts with a four-goal haul, three of which came in the final 19 minutes.
In Wednesday's other fixture Switzerland, beaten 4-1 by Group 2 favourites Germany on Saturday, triumphed by the same scoreline at home against Romania thanks to two goals each from Ana Maria Crnogorčević and Ramona Bachmann.
The last matches of the month are played on Thursday, when the Republic of Ireland and France meet in Dublin having both won their opening games, England welcome Slovenia in Group 6 aiming to get over their weekend disappointment, and in Group 2 Kazakhstan and Turkey look to bounce back from Saturday defeats. The next full set of qualifiers are in late October.
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