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Race to Finland resumes

Published: Friday 15 February 2008, 10.08CET
Qualifying starts again on Saturday with the picture beginning to clear as to which eleven teams will join hosts Finland in the summer 2009 final tournament.
by Paul Saffer
from London
Published: Friday 15 February 2008, 10.08CET

Race to Finland resumes

Qualifying starts again on Saturday with the picture beginning to clear as to which eleven teams will join hosts Finland in the summer 2009 final tournament.

UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ qualifying resumes on Saturday with just over eight months remaining until the eleven finalists challenging hosts Finland are known. The six pool winners will progress together with the five winners of the play-offs involving the group runners-up and the four best third-placed finishers. uefa.com looks at the state of play in the race for those six automatic berths.

Group 1
England's 1-0 win against Spain in the final qualifier of 2007 kept up their perfect record and took them two points ahead of the unbeaten Czech Republic with three games gone. Spain are two points further back, and welcome Northern Ireland on Saturday. England go to Northern Ireland on 6 March, two weeks before hosting the Czech Republic.

Group 2
Sweden are top with three wins from three games. They are joined on nine points by Italy and the Republic of Ireland but the Azzurre and Noel King's side have both played a game more than the Scandinavians. Italy play the Republic of Ireland on Saturday in a match that will most likely decide Sweden's main challengers. Sweden themselves return to action in May in Hungary, four days before welcoming Italy.

Group 3
France are three points ahead of Iceland, who have a game in hand. Serbia, Greece and Slovenia are all six points further back. If the top two continue to dominate the group, their final game on 27 September will prove decisive. If they are level on points by then a draw would be good enough for visitors Iceland, who won their home match against Les Bleues 1-0 in June. The next game in the group is between Greece and France on 23 April.

Group 4
Holders and world champions Germany have 15 points from five games, eight ahead of Switzerland. If Switzerland fail to win in Belgium on 27 April, Germany could qualify with three points when they visit the same nation ten days later. Before that Wales welcome Belgium on Sunday and the Netherlands on Wednesday as they look to register their first points in the section.

Group 5
Denmark opened their campaign with a 5-1 defeat of Portugal and 1-0 win in Scotland in October, so have a 100 per cent record to match Ukraine, who have played three games. Scotland have played four matches, but are within two points of Denmark. In their next outings, Ukraine visit Portugal on Thursday and Denmark go to Slovakia on 23 April.

Group 6
Norway defeated Russia 3-0 in October to make it three wins out of three – the record their opponents held before their trip to Stavanger. Poland, who like Russia have played four games, are two points behind and visit Norway on 7 May, four days after Israel make the same trip. If Russia return to winning ways, they will remain in contention when they welcome Norway in their final qualifier in October.

 
Last updated: 15/02/08 15.44CET

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