Slovenia celebrated reaching the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ play-offs with an extraordinary victory in Greece.
Switzerland's defeat by Germany on Wednesday ensured that Slovenia would go into the play-offs as one of the four best third-placed teams, a position in Group 3 they had confirmed when Greece lost 5-0 at home to Serbia on Saturday. And a hat-trick from Mateja Zver was the key for a win that takes Slovenia, who began the group as the lowest seeds, into Monday's draw for the two-legged qualifying ties on 25/26 and 29/30 October in high spirits.
The visitors were 2-0 up within 20 minutes through Zver and Anja Milenkovič but Anthoula Arvanitaki reduced arrears by half-time. Alena Milkovič made it 3-1 early in the second half but Anastasia Papadopoulou pulled one back and Dimitra Panteleiadou equalised in the 76th minute. But Snezana Malešević swiftly restored Slovenia's lead and Zver scored on 83 and 85 minutes to settle the game despite Arvanitaki claiming her second goal. Slovenia will now aim to reach their first women's finals.
Despite his side finishing on only three points, Greece coach Dimitrios Batsilas struck an optimistic note. "Anyone who has followed the campaign understood that the youngest team in Europe, ours, has the whole future ahead of them. We fought, reversed the score, but lost when playing aggressively to get the victory."