Moldova back with a bang

Moldova made a spectacular debut as they ended an absence of more than eight years from senior female football by coming top of preliminary round Group 1.

Moldova celebrate their success
Moldova celebrate their success ©Boris Kharchenko

Moldova made a spectacular UEFA Women's EURO debut as they topped 2017 preliminary round Group 1 to make their way into the main qualifying group stage.

Going into the last day of action in Moldova, all four teams were level on three points. But while Latvia and Lithuania drew 1-1, Moldova overcame Luxembourg 3-0 to clinch first place, having not played a fixture for eight and a half years before this mini-tournament.

Having been in abeyance since some second-level FIFA Women's World Cup qualifiers in 2006 followed by a 4-0 friendly reverse to Romania that October, Moldova returned to the competitive scene by beating Lithuania 2-0. They then lost 1-0 to Latvia, who had gone down 4-3 to Luxembourg, who were themselves subsequently defeated 2-0 by Lithuania.

That set up today's deciders and Claudia Chiper scored on 13 and 86 minutes, followed by a Ludmila Andone clincher to spark Molodvan celebrations.

Moldova now await the group stage draw, streamed live on UEFA.com at 14.00CET on 20 April. They will compete home and away between September 2015 and October 2016 in eight matches against some of Europe's leading nations.