Holders Germany overcame a rare opening slip to top UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship first qualifying round Group 7 in Salonika.
Only once before had Germany dropped qualifying points – in a 2009/10 draw with France – but in their first game in Greece they were held 1-1 by the hosts. However, they then beat Romania 5-0 and Russia 7-1 to ensure their place in the 20 November second qualifying round draw, their disciplined defence complemented by the threat of Madeline Gier and Nina Ehegötz on the wings.
Germany, who won their third title in five editions last season and have never finished below third, were behind six minutes in against Greece through Ioanna Trifinopoulou. Although substitute Rieke Dieckmann struck within two minutes of her half-time introduction, Germany could not force a winner. Russia set the early pace by beating Romania 6-1, Alena Andreeva scoring a hat-trick, and two days later remained ahead with a 2-1 victory against Greece.
However, although Elizaveta Danilova and Andreeva put the leaders in control, Despina Giannou pulled one back with 18 minutes left and late on Russia lost captain Margarita Chernomyrdina and Ekaterina Alekseeva to second yellow cards. A 5-0 triumph against Romania, which included three Elisabeth Mayr goals, kept Germany in contention, but they knew they still had to defeat Russia today to remain in the competition.
Gier, who helped Germany qualify last year, scored twice in a minute just past the quarter-hour and Jasmin Sehan added another early in the second half. Anna Belomyttseva pulled one back for Russia, clearly missing suspended skipper Chernomyrdina, their creative force in the first two games.
Yet Gier – her third goal, like her first, curled with her left foot direct from a corner – and Sehan both completed their hat-tricks and Alina Ortega-Jurado also scored. Russia will not advance as one of the five best runners-up. Greece overcame Romania 1-0 for their best points tally, four, in this competition, a last-gasp goal from substitute Trifinopoulou deciding the outcome.
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