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England are well-placed to reach next summer's FIFA Women's World Cup finals in Germany after a 2-0 victory against Switzerland in the first leg of their play-off tie.
Hope Powell's UEFA Women's EURO 2009 runners-up lived up to their billing against a Switzerland team that has never reached a final tournament. England, who made it as far as the quarter-finals four years ago, will take a two-goal advantage into Thursday's second leg in Wohlen thanks to quick-fire goals from Fara Williams and Kelly Smith just before half-time.
They had been coming, with both Rachel Yankey and Eniola Aluko hitting the frame of Marisa Brunner's goal inside the opening 11 minutes at Greenhous Meadow. The deadlock was broken a minute before the interval when Brunner spilled a shot and Williams pounced to finish from just inside the penalty area.
The 2007 quarter-finalists' advantage was then doubled a minute into first-half added time when Smith slotted home from the penalty spot to become England women's all-time leading scorer. Switzerland did their best to establish a foothold but, much to Powell's satisfaction, England held firm.
Powell said: "The clean sheet is most important as is the two goals and the three points. I think we did OK, it was always going to be tense and in the first half we were a little bit safe I would say, but then we scored the two goals and we started to relax. Credit to them they are always going to try and score away from and we had to work hard to get the result, but overall I was really pleased."
After her record-breaking goal, Smith added: "I am delighted, but the most important thing was the win. Scoring two goals and taking that into the second leg is good. We knew they would be tough to break down, we had to patient and we were fortunate to do that."
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