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Holders Spain make spectacular start

Published: Wednesday 5 October 2011, 19.19CET
Four of last season's winning squad were in action as Spain made a fine start to their bid for a third straight title with nine points and 20 unanswered goals to top Group 9 in Baku.
by Abbas Zahidi
from Baku
Holders Spain make spectacular start
Alba Pomares in action during Spain's 7-0 defeat of Ukraine ©AFFA
Published: Wednesday 5 October 2011, 19.19CET

Holders Spain make spectacular start

Four of last season's winning squad were in action as Spain made a fine start to their bid for a third straight title with nine points and 20 unanswered goals to top Group 9 in Baku.

Spain made a superb start to their bid for a third straight UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship title as they won all three of their first qualifying round Group 9 games in Baku with 20 unanswered goals.

They opened with a 6-0 defeat of Bosnia and Herzegovina and then went one better against hosts Azerbaijan. Needing only a point against Ukraine, they secured a second straight 7-0 victory while Bosnia and Herzegovina beat Azerbaijan 2-1 to finish as runners-up.

In their opener, the holders began with four of the squad that had retained the trophy with a 1-0 win against France two months ago – Maitane López, Celia Jiménez, Núria Mendoza and Alba Pomares. Mendoza and 2011 final match winner Pomares were among the scorers against Bosnia and Herzegovina while Tetyana Kozyrenko was the inspiration with two goals as Ukraine saw off Azerbaijan 3-0.

Bosnia and Herzegovina bounced back to overcome Ukraine 3-1 yet Spain continued to star as six different players found the net against Azerbaijan. Blanca Rubio was the second of those and she told UEFA.com: "We were tired after the first match. Azerbaijan had the advantage of their home stadium and fans. We just needed to implement our game plan and win the match."

Things also went to plan against Ukraine with Sonia Fraile claiming a first-half hat-trick to top-score in the mini-tournament with five goals. Bosnia and Herzegovina, meanwhile, were grateful to Merima Semić's winner 11 minutes from time to deny Azerbaijan a first point, but they may struggle to be one of the four runners-up with the best records against the sides first and third in their group – which they need to be in order to join Spain in the 15 November second qualifying round draw.

Last updated: 06/10/11 14.30CET

http://www.uefa.com/womensunder17/news/newsid=1693465.html#holders+spain+make+spectacular+start

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