England book ticket to second qualifying round

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.

England coach Lois Fidler has steered her side through to the second qualifying round
England coach Lois Fidler has steered her side through to the second qualifying round ©Sportsfile

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.

 

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