Romania and Slovakia became the first teams to secure progress from the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ preliminary round to the main qualification phase after Matchday 2 across the five mini-tournaments.
First place secure
Only one team will emerge from each of the pools, and Romania - on home soil in Group 4 - followed up their 4-1 defeat of Azerbaijan on Saturday with a 1-0 success against Bulgaria. Since Bulgaria had beaten Estonia on Matchday 1, and the Baltic nation today lost 3-2 to Azerbaijan, Romania cannot not be caught at the top regardless of their result against Estonia on Thursday.
Slovakia on top
Slovakia also moved into an unassailable position at the Group 3 summit this evening, following up an opening 4-0 victory against hosts Luxembourg by scoring three times without reply against Lithuania. Luxembourg beat Malta 4-2 but cannot catch the leaders following that heavy loss on Matchday 1. The home nation can seal second spot, though, by taking at least a point from their final outing against the Lithuanians.
Israel stay ahead
Group 2 is heading for a fascinating conclusion in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Israel, 3-0 opening-day victors against Latvia, ensured they held on to first place with a single-goal win against Armenia. The home side had been held 1-1 by Armenia, so needed to overcome Latvia to stay in contention, and their 4-1 win means that they can overtake Israel on Thursday if they take all three points in their decisive encounter.
It is a similar story in Group 5, where Wales and Kazakhstan won for the second time. Wales scored six without reply against home side F.Y.R. Macedonia, making their competitive women's tournament debut, Jayne Ludlow of UEFA Women's Cup finalists Arsenal LFC among the scorers. Kazakhstan defeated the Faroe Islands 1-0, but trail Wales on goal difference so will need to win again on Thursday to stop Ludlow and co progressing.
In Group 1, Northern Ireland bounced back from losing 1-0 to Turkey by beating Georgia 4-0 with an Ashley Hutton hat-trick. The Northern Irish could now progress with a victory on Thursday against Croatia, who prevented Turkey from clinching the pool by defeating the previous leaders 2-1 at the Burhanettin Kocamaz stadium.
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