Switzerland were not only the first European team to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup on Sunday – but they have earned their debut appearance in any final tournament.
Beaten by England and Italy in play-offs to reach the 2011 finals, Switzerland made a flying start to Group 3 this time, beating main rivals Iceland and Denmark away. They also picked up four home points against those teams and dropped no others, beating Israel 9-0 on Saturday with six different scorers, their group record seven wins, one draw, 41 goals for and just one against.
Demanding German coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg told Frauenfussball-Magazin: "It may sound weird after winning 9-0, but I am not really that pleased. In some stages we were not accurate enough and our body language was also not convincing."
Still, Switzerland knew a draw between Denmark and Iceland on Sunday would confirm their place in Canada next summer with two games left. A 1-1 result in Vejle allowed celebrations to begin, Switzerland assured of a berth in the finals in Canada alongside the hosts, holders Japan, fellow Asian qualifiers China, South Korea, Australia and Thailand plus 17 others to be decided.
"World Cup qualification done!!!! Wooooooohooo, what emotions," tweeted midfielder Sandra Betschart, as the team celebrated the result together on their camp. Voss-Tecklenburg added: "The closer we came to the whistle, the more moist our hands got. It has not quite sunk in yet, it is simply a great feeling.
"With this qualification, we have earned a lot of respect in the world of international women's football. No one could have expected us to go through so easily. In this campaign, we intended to do so much, we dreamt of it and have worked so hard to reach it, and now we have done it. It is an explosion of emotions; pure goosebumps. I am happy for every single player and the entire staff."
Now, though, there is a new motivation as the players prepare for their last qualifiers against Serbia on Thursday and Malta on 17 September, the coach saying: "There have been no decisions regarding the final squad for Canada yet."
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