Germany and France took big strides towards the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup as both recorded a pair of convincing victories in the last set of qualifying fixtures this year, with Spain also maintaining their perfect record with two wins. UEFA.com rounds up the results and the situation in the seven groups.
Germany continued their relentless march towards Canada with two big away wins, 6-0 in Slovakia and 8-0 in Croatia, where Dzsenifer Marozsán scored four times. They are top with five perfect victories and 40 unanswered goals. The Republic of Ireland are second, eight points adrift but with two games in hand, though their unbeaten record will be sorely tested in the next set of fixtures when Germany visit on 5 April. Russia have only played two matches, a 9-0 loss in Germany and a 2-0 success in Slovakia, and have a first home game on 5 April against Slovenia before welcoming Croatia four days later.
Spain followed up their October home triumphs against Estonia and, crucially, Italy by defeating Romania 1-0 and the previously unbeaten Czech Republic 3-2, withstanding a late comeback after being three up. Spain's last home game is on 13 February against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the same day that Italy, six points behind with a game in hand, welcome the Czech Republic. The section looks set to hinge on the first of Spain's five away fixtures, in Italy on 5 April.
Denmark bounced back from their 1-0 home defeat by Switzerland in October to prevail 5-0 in Malta but remain five points adrift of the leaders, who have three perfect victories, and two behind Israel, 3-1 winners against Serbia. The two unblemished records are put to the test when Israel host Switzerland on 12 February. Iceland, on three points from two games having lost at home to Switzerland in September, resume on 5 April in Israel, but so far the Swiss are in a good position for a maiden major qualification.
In the only November game, Poland won 3-0 in Northern Ireland to move within six points of Scotland and three of Sweden, who have a game in hand and like the leaders a 100% record. There are no more games until 5 April, when Sweden visit Northern Ireland, Scotland entertain Poland and two teams with a solitary point apiece, the Faroe Islands and Bosnia and Herzegovina, also meet.
Having lost at home to Norway in October, the Netherlands defeated Greece 7-0 in Rotterdam with a hat-trick from 17-year-old Vivianne Miedema, following up her 15-minute treble in Portugal last month. The Netherlands and Belgium, who play on 12 February, are level with Norway on nine points, though the 2005 world champions possess a game in hand and a perfect record having beaten the top two. Norway go to Greece on 13 February, the day after Portugal play Albania.
In the two November matches, Wales won 3-0 in Montenegro, who then lost 3-1 away to Turkey. England have 12 points from four outings and are six ahead of Wales, who hold a game in hand, while Ukraine have won their only fixture so far. They continue in Turkey on 13 February and at home to Belarus on 6 April.
France are on four perfect victories after their double-header with Bulgaria, winning 10-0 away and 14-0 at home, Gaëtane Thiney scoring a hat-trick in Lovech then four more in front of 14,000 in Le Mans to go to a competition-leading goal tally of nine. Finland have won all three of their games and are next in Hungary on 5 April, when France play Kazakhstan and Bulgaria host Austria, three points off second place though having had an match extra.
The seven group winners qualify and the four runners-up with the best records against the sides finishing first, third, fourth and fifth in their groups go into the play-offs next autumn for the one remaining UEFA berth in Canada. Europe were given eight places in the expanded 24-team finals.
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