England are through to the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship second qualifying round after success in their mini-tournament in Georgia – but hope is not lost for runners-up Russia.
Both England and Russia defeated Slovakia and first qualifying round Group 10 hosts Georgia on the opening matchdays to set up a decider in Rustavi. England only needed a draw but Sarah Wiltshire's goal 12 minutes from time secured a 1-0 win and a place in the next stage. However, the six runners-up with the best record against the teams first and third in their pool will join the ten group winners in December's second qualifying round draw, and Russia will now be taking a keen interest in the only remaining mini-tournament, Group 7 which runs from 5-10 November and involves hosts Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic and Belarus.
England in form
Lois Fidler's England team set out their stall on Matchday 1 with a 13-0 defeat of Georgia in Tbilisi. Jess Holbrook both twice before the break and to add to goals by Stephanie Marsh, Rebecca Jane, Jordan Nobbs. Natalie Crinean and Demi Stokes. After the interval Jemma Rose converted a penalty, Nobbs added two more to complete her hat-trick, Nino Sutidze put through an own goal and Jane and substitute Rachel Pitman were only on target late on. Over in Rustavi, Russia beat Slovakia 3-1 as although Alexandra Makarova's opener was cancelled out just before half-time by Viera Mašlejová, Mária Hornáková put through an own goal and Daria Aborovichute clinched victory late on.
Russia won again two days later as they defeated Georgia 3-0 in Rustavi, Nadezda Koltakova scoring on four and 52 minutes before making it three in added time. England stayed top as they beat Slovakia 3-1 in Tbilisi, starting with a fourth-minute Nobbs penalty. Dominika Škorvánková equalised on 24 minutes but Nobbs scored again just past the half-hour and Rachel Pitman added another early in the second period.
Slovakia had the consolation of third place after defeating Georgia 6-0. Viera Mašlejová, Škorvánková and Jana Vojteková claimed first-half goals, and Mašlejová, Denisa Štefanová and Škorvánková struck after the break in Tblisi. But the decisive game was in Rustavi, and England's place in the draw on 11 December is now guaranteed.
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