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Rachel Yankey's opportunist goal gave England victory against the Netherlands and control of UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying Group 6 in Salford.
At kick-off, the 2009 runners-up trailed the side they beat in those semi-finals by five points with two games in hand, having drawn 0-0 away to the Netherlands in October. But victory means that England will qualify automatically as group winners if they triumph in Slovenia on Thursday and at home to Croatia on 19 September.
The Netherlands had the edge in the first half but forward Ellen White – who has been struggling with injury – replaced Rachel Williams at the break and within three minutes had a goal disallowed for offside. England then took the lead through Yankey's quickly taken free-kick, though Anouk Hoogendijk so nearly equalised immediately, hitting the woodwork.
Yankey said: "We've been working on defending this weekend and not letting them break us down and getting goals. It's positive for us, a 1-0 win."
The Netherlands will now aim to maximise their chances of finishing top by beating Serbia on Wednesday. Even if they are eventually consigned to second place, however, they could well end up avoiding the need for a play-off as the runners-up with the best record against the teams first, third and fourth in their section across the seven groups.
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