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England through to World Cup

Published: Saturday 30 September 2006, 21.51CET
France 1-1 England The visitors survived a pulsating finish to get the draw that has taken them to the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China.
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Published: Saturday 30 September 2006, 21.51CET

England through to World Cup

France 1-1 England The visitors survived a pulsating finish to get the draw that has taken them to the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China.

England had to survive a pulsating finish in front of 19,215 spectators in France to record the draw they needed to seal Europe's fifth and final berth at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Diguelman leveller
The visitors took the lead in the 64th minute when France striker Hoda Lattaf inadvertently diverted a Rachel Yankey free-kick into her own net. Needing a win by any margin to wrest top spot from England, France upped the tempo and in a two-minute spell Marinette Pichon unleashed a fierce drive and Lataff fizzed a volley just wide. France substitute Ludivine Diguelman finally found the net in the 89th minute, although it was England who went closest to winning the game when Eniola Aluko hit the post in the final seconds.

Revenge
The draw was sweet revenge for Hope Powell’s England after they saw their dreams of qualifying for the 2003 finals ended by a play-off defeat. England end Group 5 with an unbeaten record from their eight qualifiers, while France ultimately paid the price for losing their opening match 1-0 to the Netherlands last September. Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany will also compete in China next year.

Pichon retires
After the match, veteran France striker Pichon decided to call time on her international career. "It was my last game with the French team," she said. "I'll now take time to rest and think of something else." Pichon won the first of her 112 caps in 1994 and she scored 81 international goals.
Last updated: 01/10/06 18.07CET

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