England strength shows in the end

Czech Republic 1-5 England
Five second-half goals gave England a comeback win that ensured them control of Group 1 ahead of Thursday's qualifying decider in Spain.

Kelly Smith scored two goals as England moved a step closer to Finland
Kelly Smith scored two goals as England moved a step closer to Finland ©Getty Images

Westwood equaliser
When Katerina Došková headed the Czech Republic in front on 28 minutes, England were facing the prospect of having to win in Zamora to pip Spain and avoid the play-offs. But after Emily Westwood was brought off the bench, her superb finish just past the hour mark levelled the scores before Kelly Smith's cool chip gave England the lead with eleven minutes left. In the next seven minutes Karen Carney, Jill Scott and Smith added to the advantage, giving England a big enough win to be able to afford any one-goal defeat in Spain. The Czech Republic needed to win by five goals to have a chance of topping the group but definitely go into October's play-offs as one of the four best third-placed teams across the six pools.

Home side ahead
England, who began the game with defender Lindsay Johnson in for injured captain Faye White, went close within two minutes when Karen Carney headed a Kelly Smith cross just wide. Lone striker Lianne Sanderson then pounced on a loose ball but Czech goalkeeper Marcela Zbořilová advanced quickly to block. Czech Republic captain Eva Šmeralova was forced off with a knee injury, Lucie Kladrubská taking her place in midfield, but the home side took the lead when Došková applied her head to a cross after a corner was only half-cleared.

Substitution pays off
Visiting manager Hope Powell made a change at the break with Westwood taking over from Sanderson, leaving Smith leading the line. And the substitution paid off when Smith and Fara Williams combined to supply Westwood outside the box – her strike gave Zbořilová little chance. England continued to press and on 79 minutes a long clearance from goalkeeper Rachel Brown found Smith, who coolly chipped Zbořilová. Two minutes later, Smith crossed for Carney to head England further in front and Williams then set up Scott to make it 4-1. Smith completed the scoring as she rounded Zbořilová.

Powell relieved

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