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Third place a top prize for Northern Ireland

Published: Saturday 24 July 2010, 22.19CET
Helen McKenna said a third-place finish in FIFA Women's World Cup Group 1 would be "a terrific achievement" for Northern Ireland after scoring twice in Alfie Wylie's side's 3-0 win over Estonia.
by Darren Fullerton
from Belfast
Third place a top prize for Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland won 3-0 against Estonia ©Getty Images
Published: Saturday 24 July 2010, 22.19CET

Third place a top prize for Northern Ireland

Helen McKenna said a third-place finish in FIFA Women's World Cup Group 1 would be "a terrific achievement" for Northern Ireland after scoring twice in Alfie Wylie's side's 3-0 win over Estonia.

Northern Ireland's hopes of securing a third-place finish in FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying Group 1 were boosted by victory over Estonia on Saturday.

Two second-half goals from Helen McKenna and an unstoppable free-kick from Julie Nelson secured a 3-0 win at the Coleraine Showgrounds. The triumph eased Alfie Wylie's side up to seven points - one behind fourth-placed Serbia and two adrift of Estonia in third - with two games remaining.

Double goal scorer McKenna said: "We have it all to play for going into our last two games. It's a tough finish, but our target is six points. Our aim now is to finish third in the group and we need to take as many points as possible from the games against Serbia and Croatia. We were the underdogs going into this campaign, so to finish in third place behind France and Iceland would be a terrific achievement."

McKenna, 26, hailed Saturday's victory over Estonia as "a fantastic result and thoroughly deserved". She added: "I am delighted for the other girls and our manager Alfie who has, at times, taken some flak and criticism from the doubters. It was great to get the win and to secure three points with a good performance was very rewarding."

McKenna scored in the 53rd and 62nd minutes - one a long range effort, the other after racing clear and rounding the Estonian keeper. Centre-half Nelson completed the scoring with a driven set-piece in the 69th. Northern Ireland finish their campaign with an away trip to Serbia on August 21 followed by a home clash with Croatia four days later.

Last updated: 26/07/10 12.29CET

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