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Sweden qualify, four more into play-offs

Published: Wednesday 17 September 2014, 19.51CET
Sweden are the seventh European team into the finals with a 2-0 win against Scotland, who join Italy, the Netherlands and Ukraine in the play-offs to decide the last qualifiers.
by Paul Saffer
Sweden qualify, four more into play-offs
Lotta Schelin is now Sweden's joint-top scorer ©Sportsfile
Published: Wednesday 17 September 2014, 19.51CET

Sweden qualify, four more into play-offs

Sweden are the seventh European team into the finals with a 2-0 win against Scotland, who join Italy, the Netherlands and Ukraine in the play-offs to decide the last qualifiers.

Sweden have become the seventh European team to qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup finals after the qualifying group stage finished on Wednesday while Scotland, Ukraine and the Netherlands joined Italy in the play-offs.

Qualified: England, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada (hosts), Japan (holders), Australia, China, South Korea, Thailand + 11 more tbc

In UEFA play-offs: Italy, Netherlands, Scotland, Ukraine (seedings tbc)

FINAL GROUP STANDINGS

Automatic qualifiers
While England, France, former winners Germany and Norway, and debut qualifiers Spain and Switzerland were already confirmed as section winners, Sweden needed to avoid a 3-1 defeat by Scotland in Gothenburg to follow them from Group 4. Therese Sjögran, earning her 199th cap, looped in a seventh-minute header and Lotta Schelin equalled Hanna Ljungberg's Sweden scoring record of 72 as she added a second for a 2-0 victory.

  Play-off race
Despite the loss, Scotland already knew they would at least be one of four teams to reach Tuesday's play-off draw (streamed live on UEFA.com). Italy were already assured of their place as the runners-up with the best record against the sides first, third, fourth and fifth in the groups decided tonight.

In the early game, Ukraine overcame Wales 1–0 – ending the hopes of their visitors as well as of Denmark and Austria. Ukraine knew they would be in the play-offs as long as Finland did not beat France and Russia did not defeat Croatia by 20 goals.

Finland did lead in France but ultimately lost 3-1. Russia won 3-1 but missed out on goal difference behind Ukraine. The Netherlands only had to avoid a heavy loss in Norway but in any case prevailed 2-0.

Play-off draw: 14.00CET, 23 September, Nyon (streamed live)
Play-off semi-finals: 25/26 & 29/30 October
Play-off final: 22/23 & 26/27 November
Finals draw: 6 December, Ottowa
Finals: 6 June–5 July, Canada

Key facts
• The final tournament has been expanded to 24 from 16 teams, with Europe's allocation up from five to eight.
• All five of Europe's 2011 finalists – England, France, Germany, Norway and Sweden – topped their groups.
• Sweden's success means that every past semi-finalist has now reached Canada apart from Brazil, currently in South American qualification.
Switzerland are in their first women's major final tournament, Spain their maiden World Cup.
• Of the play-off contenders only Italy (1991, 1999) have previously qualified.
Scotland have never qualified for a major tournament, losing in the last two UEFA Women's EURO play-offs.

Past World Cup finals (European teams in bold)
2011: Japan 2-2 United States (aet, 3-1 pens); Frankfurt, Germany
2007: Germany 2-0 Brazil; Shanghai, China
2003: Germany 1-0 Sweden (aet, golden goal); Carson, United States
1999: United States 0-0 China (aet, 5-4 pens); Pasadena, United States
1995: Norway 2-0 Germany; Stockholm, Sweden
1991: United States 2-1 Norway; Guangzhou, China

Last updated: 04/06/15 4.16CET

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