England are through to the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship second qualifying round after beating Finland 4-2 to clinch top spot in Group 6.
Article top media content
England are through to the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship second qualifying round after a final-day 4-2 win against Finland clinched first place in Group 6.
Ahead of Sunday's decider, Finland enjoyed a goal-difference advantage having beaten hosts Northern Ireland 4-2 and Israel 7-0, in comparison to England's respective 2-1 and 4-1 wins against the same opponents. England quickly set about their rivals, though, as Rosella Ayane, Katie Zelem and Abbey-Leigh Stringer all struck in the opening 11 minutes.
Hollie Kelsh added a fourth just shy of the half-hour mark, shortly after Natalia Kuikka had pulled one back with a stunning effort from distance. Melinda Koivula's 58th-minute goal then proved a mere consolation, with England now awaiting the 15 November draw for the next stage in the spring.
Earlier in the section, Zelem scored twice in England's opening 4-1 defeat of Israel, while Finland were four up just before half-time against Northern Ireland only for the home side to pull two back. It was more comfortable for Finland against Israel as they raced into a five-goal lead before the break, Julia Säppi and Vera Saastamoinen both striking twice. Northern Ireland again put up a tough fight against England, but Stringer decided the game with 11 minutes left.
Finland still have a chance of going through as one of the four runners-up with the best record against the teams positioned first and third in their section across the ten groups.