Two first-half goals from Vivianne Miedema set the Netherlands on course for a 2-1 victory over Italy that seals their place in the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time.
The 18-year-old had earned the Dutch a 1-1 draw in Saturday's play-off first leg and she was once again the thorn in Italy's side in Verona. The FC Bayern München forward opened the scoring on nine minutes after good work on the left from Danielle van de Donk, and her second just before half-time left the hosts with a mountain to climb. It was Miedema's 16th goal in qualifying – three more than anybody else.
Stephanie van der Gragt's own goal eight minutes into the second period following an awkward ball from Sara Gama gave them hope, but a second Italian goal – let alone a third – never looked likely.
The Netherlands therefore complete Europe's eight-strong bid for Women's World Cup glory in Canada next June/July, when Miedema will seek to add that crown to the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship she inspired the Dutch to this past summer.
UEFA: England, France, Germany, Netherlands*, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland*
AFC (5): Australia, China, Japan (holders), South Korea, Thailand*
CAF (3): Cameroon,*, Ivory Coast*, Nigeria
CONCACAF (4): Canada (hosts), Costa Rica*, Mexico, United States
CONMEBOL (2): Brazil, Colombia
CONMEBOL-CONCACAF play-off (1): Ecuador v Trinidad & Tobago (first leg 0-0, return Tuesday in Port of Spain)
OFC (1): New Zealand
Finals draw: 18.05CET, 6 December, Ottowa
Finals: 6 June–5 July, Canada
Friendly results this week for European finalists:
Saturday: France 2-1 New Zealand (Laval)
Sunday: England 0-3 Germany (Wembley), Sweden 0-1 Canada (Los Angeles)
Tuesday: Norway 1-1 New Zealand (Randaberg)
Wednesday: France 2-0 Brazil (Lyon), Sweden 1-1 Canada (Los Angeles)
Thursday: Norway 2-0 New Zealand (Randaberg)
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