Records fell in UEFA European Under-17 Championship qualifying round Group 5 as Romania and Belarus eased through.
On Matchday 1 Belarus secured a competition best 12-0 defeat of Liechtenstein and in the following games Romania's Fabian Himcinschi equalled the tournament record tally of five goals as they beat the same team 9-0. The top two had also beaten Kazakhstan and were in the elite round even before Romania defeated hosts Belarus 2-0 for first place.
Himcinschi, whose team had opened with a 1-0 win against Kazakhstan, made his mark again in that decider at the Traktor Stadium in Minsk, scoring on 37 and 53 minutes to seal victory against Belarus, as Romania ended the group with three clean sheets. Coach Adrian Vasai, who deployed five at the back against Belarus, was very pleased as he awaits the 30 November elite round draw.
"We had qualified beforehand, but for us it was important to win the last match," he said. "If you want your players to get the winning spirit, it's absolutely crucial to succeed in every game. I am happy that we managed to show our best in the match against Belarus. On the whole the tournament was extremely useful for us and what is important we enjoyed our stay here in Minsk very much."
Belarus had scored freely prior to the Romania game, following the defeat of Liechtenstein with a 6-2 win against Kazakhstan, Pavel Savitski proving the fans' favourite by scoring four goals in both of the games. Coach Valiantsin Mikheyeu named the same XI for all three games and was disappointed with the final defeat.
"We really had the potential to beat Romania in the last match, but they exploited two of our mistakes and we did not manage to fight back," he said. "Youth football is like that. You cannot really predict much with players of this age. Anyway the important thing is that we qualified for the elite round which was essential for us. What is a little bit frustrating is that we do not have good substitute players. I am going to make more effort trying to find new talents."
Kazakhstan ended on a high with a 2-0 win against Liechtenstein to take third place. However, Liechtenstein fielded a squad many of who were 14 or 15 years of age, the same player shortage that forced them to withdraw their team from last season's finals on home soil.
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