Free-scoring Iceland topped UEFA European Women Under-17 Championship first round qualifying Group 5 ahead of Italy with 29 goals to their name – and coach Thorlákur Arnason is hoping for more success.
His side showed great attacking flair and having defeated Lithuania 14-0 and hosts Bulgaria 10-0, they clinched a second qualifying round place with a 5-1 win against Italy, who will now hope to go through as one of the five best runners-up after the other nine groups are completed over the next month. Arnason's 4-2-3-1 formation was spearheaded by nine-goal Aldís Kara Lúdvíksdóttir.
"To be honest, I believed we can do well, but I was also surprised with the ease that we scored goals," Arnason told UEFA.com. "We knew Italy would give us a fight as they are very strong, but we did well and we are more than happy with our overall performance here in Bulgaria."
Italy did win 4-0 against Bulgaria and 7-0 versus Lithuania – who defeated the hosts 1-0 for third place – but had no answer to four Lúdvíksdóttir goals today. And Arnason, who will discover his second qualifying round opposition on 16 November, is sure his team have the potential to reach the four-team finals in Nyon.
"I am confident not only because of our performance here, but also in the strong summer Nordic tournament, where we won against Sweden and Finland and lost in the final against Norway," he said. "Now we are really looking forward to the next round.
I think we have a solid squad and we are sure we can do well, and why not reach at least the semi-finals? We are glad to be doing well as female football is getting very popular in Iceland and thousands of girls are now training."
Lúdvíksdóttir, who has scored six goals in her first top-flight season for FH Hafnarfjördur, was delighted with her performance. "It is nice to score so many goals," the 16-year-old said. "We hope we can do well in this competition.
My dream is to play one day for the Iceland senior team and hope playing football will help me get a scholarship for my education."
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