Belarus move up a gear

Belarus 5-0 Northern Ireland Belarus burst into life into Group 1 as they struck five goals without reply against Northern Ireland.

Belarus burst into life into UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ qualifying Group 1 as they struck five goals without reply against Northern Ireland.

Belarus goals
Both teams were without a point at kick-off and Northern Ireland had to come through the preliminary round on their first campaign in the competition since 1991 while Belarus have only previously appeared in the now abolished second tier of the continental tournament. But Belarus were always on top in Bobruisk and Iryna Kazeeva put them ahead of 26 minutes. Hanna Tatrynova doubled the lead early in the second half and completed the scoring in injury time, but which point substitutes Alesia Davydovich and Liudmila Kuzniatsova had also struck.

Experience gained
The Czech Republic are Belarus's next visitors on 26 August, while Northern Ireland return to group action in Spain on 16 February. Defeated manager Alfie Wylie remained upbeat, telling the Belfast Telegraph: "For me this campaign is all about improving our standards and gaining experience. We won our pre-qualifying group in Turkey last year, that was what we set out to. We are punching above our weight even being at this level, but it is a benefit to our domestic game that we did qualify."