Norway, Denmark, England and the Netherlands clinched places at UEFA Women's EURO 2013 in today's final group qualifiers while Iceland, Austria, Russia and Scotland have been confirmed in next month's play-offs.
Qualified: Italy, Germany (holders), Norway, France, Finland, England, Denmark, Netherlands (best runners-up), Sweden (hosts)
Play-offs: Russia, Spain, Iceland, Scotland, Ukraine, Austria
Play-off draw streamed live from Nyon on UEFA.com at 12.45CET on Friday, three seeded teams to be confirmed.
In the one direct decider tonight, Norway defeated Iceland 2-1 in Oslo to top Group 3 and send their visitors to the play-offs. Maren Mjelde scored on 39 minutes and Elise Thorsnes immediately added a second for the two-time winners, who knocked out Iceland in the 2005 play-offs and 2009 finals group stage. Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir pulled one back with 24 minutes left but Iceland faced a final-day group deciding loss for the third campaign running. Belgium, in third, won 1-0 in Northern Ireland.
Having lost their Group 7 lead with a 3-1 loss in Austria on Saturday, Denmark needed a point against Portugal to end in first. They took 65 minutes to make their domination count through Pernille Harder, and Line Røddik sealed a 2-0 win from the penalty spot. The Czech Republic won 2-0 in Armenia but came third, ahead of Portugal.
Like Austria, the Netherlands led their section at kick-off but had already completed their fixtures so knew England would overtake them in Group 6 with victory against Croatia. And the 2009 runners-up sealed a 3-0 win despite a heroic display from 17-year-old visiting goalkeeper Doris Bačić. On 21 minutes she could only parry an Eniola Aluko effort and Jill Scott converted the rebound and the No9, starting in the absence of injured Kelly Smith and suspended Ellen White, turned goalscorer early in the second half.
Captain Casey Stoney expertly dispatched a Karen Carney corner with a powerful left-footed finish with ten minutes left, but the Netherlands join England in the finals as they ended as the runners-up with the best record against the top five in their group. Serbia ended a promising campaign in third by defeating Slovenia 3-0.
Scotland could have snatched that prize with a four-goal margin of victory at home to France but instead the Group 4 winners triumphed 5-0 with Eugénie Le Sommer and Marie-Laure Delie both scoring twice and Louisa Necib also on target, though Lisa Evans did hit the bar. The Republic of Ireland made sure of fourth place, winning 2-0 in Israel.
France's victory ensured they ended qualifying as the only team with a perfect record as Group 1 winners Italy were held 0-0 in Greece. Daniela Sabatino, Valentina Boni and Barbara Bonansea all came close but a brave home effort denied the visitors, who at least completed the feat of not conceding in their ten qualifiers. Russia, who began the day still mathematically able to be best runners-up, were held 1-1 by third-placed Poland and head for the play-offs while Bosnia and Herzegovina, in fourth, finished with a 1-0 defeat of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Holders Germany, like Italy, clinched a finals place in June and although two dropped points in Spain last November dashed their hopes of a sixth straight perfect qualifying campaign, they ended as top scorers with a 10-0 defeat of Turkey in Duisburg giving them a total of 64 goals. Substitute Martina Müller managed a hat-trick while Célia Okoyino da Mbabi, by scoring twice, set a new UEFA Women's EURO qualifying record of 17 goals. Romania came third as they drew 0-0 away to play-off contenders Spain and Switzerland lost 1-0 in Kazakhstan.
For much of qualifying it seemed that Finland's meeting with Ukraine would be the Group 5 decider. However, on Saturday Finland were confirmed as group winners and they were grateful for the cushion as Ukraine, bound for the play-offs, won 1-0 in Helsinki through Lyudmyla Pekur. In the meeting of the teams who until Saturday were in contention themselves, Belarus beat Slovakia 1-0 to finish third.
All seven group winners and the best runners-up (not counting results against the sixth-placed teams in the larger Groups 1, 2 and 3) have progressed to the final tournament from 10 to 28 July 2013, drawn on 9 November. The other six runners-up go to the play-offs for the remaining three places, drawn on Friday at 12.45CET, and played over two legs on 20/21 and 24/25 October.
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