Germany secured their record win as the latest set of UEFA Women' EURO 2013 qualifiers began but the result of the day was Northern Ireland's defeat of two-time champions Norway.
Beaten by Iceland in their opening qualifier, Norway suffered another serious blow as they lost 3-1 to Northern Ireland in Lurgan, despite their hosts finishing the game with ten players. A deflected Kirsty McGuinness shot and captain Ashley Hutton's header put Northern Ireland 2-0 up at the break, and while Isabell Herlovsen replied on the hour, Rachel Furness restored the advantage with 16 minutes left and there was to be no way back for Caroline Knutsen's side, even after Catherine O'Hagan's 88th-minute dismissal, securing one of the biggest shocks in qualifying history.
Belgium are now above Norway, and second in Group 3, with Aline Zeler and Annaelle Wiard registering twice each in a 5-0 triumph at home against Bulgaria, who they visit on Wednesday. Iceland are six points clear having played a game more; Norway are seven back in fourth.
A national-record 17-0 win against Kazakhstan saw Germany maintain their stunning record of having won every qualifier since 1999, with Célia Okoyino da Mbabi and Alexandra Popp scoring four each for Silvia Neid's side, while Babett Peter chimed in with a second-half hat-trick. Germany broke the record they set when they beat Portugal 13-0 in 2003 and equalled the biggest victory in a UEFA European Women's Championship qualifier; Spain beat Slovenia 17-0 in 1994 and Norway matched that result against Slovakia the following year. Da Mbabi scored her four goals inside the first 16 minutes.
Coach Silvia Neid remained impressively calm in the wake of this blizzard of goals. "It was a great performance," she said. "I especially liked our direct passing and movement off the ball." Spain, level with Germany on three perfect wins, visit Romania on Sunday before the top two face off in Motril on Sunday.
Melania Gabbiadini scored a hat-trick as Italy won 5-0 in Poland to maintain top spot in Group 1, but Russia remain three points behind them following their 4-0 triumph in Greece; Olga Petrova would have had a treble of her own had she not missed a 39th-minute penalty having earlier successfully converting from the spot. In the same section, Bosnia and Herzegovina got their first victory in some style, Lidija Kuliš scoring four times in a 6-2 win in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
In Group 6, the Netherlands maintained their unbeaten start with a 2-0 win in Slovenia; Kirsten van de Ven and Chantal de Ridder got the goal. Serbia are three points behind Roger Reijners' team following a 4-2 win at home against Croatia, with Marija Radojčić scoring twice to cap a stand-out performance to move two points shead of England, who they visit on Wednesday.
Slovakia moved to the top of a tight Group 5 with a 3-0 win against Belarus. Dana Fecková's corner laid on the first for Ivana Bojdová and she also set up the second for Veronika Klechová before Diana Bartovičová completed the scoring in the last minute. Austria, meanwhile, moved up to second in Group 7, Laura Feiersinger finding the target on 13 minutes against Portugal with the home side's Edite Fernandes guilty of some glaring misses in one-on-one situations. Denmark are two points clear of Austria with a game in hand; the Czech Republic will move equal second in they beat Armenia on Sunday.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.