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Israel lead preliminary successes

Israel, Wales and Northern Ireland all gained final-day victories to move past the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ preliminary round.

Israel, Wales and Northern Ireland gained final-day victories to move past the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ preliminary round into the main qualifying draw on 13 December.

Shenar feat
Romania and Slovakia had booked their progress with a match to spare on Monday, but the three other groups were still undecided before today. Israel needed only a point against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Slovenia to win Group 2, in the end a 5-2 victory ensured Alon Shraier's side would earn the chance to play Europe's top-ranked nations in competition for the first time. Silvia-Sima Gian struck for Israel on 12 minutes and Sabit Shenar doubled the lead midway through the first half. Bosnian captain Sabina Pehić pulled one back in the 27th minute but Shenar struck again before the break. Amela Fetahović gave the home side hope, but in the last ten minutes Shenar took her personal tally to four in the match and six in the mini-tournament. Armenia secured third place with a 1-0 win against Latvia.

McFadden heroics
Northern Ireland only returned to competitive senior women's football in 2005 after a 15-year absence, but a 5-1 defeat of Croatia in Turkey took them through as Group 1 winners. Alfie Wylie’s side lost 1-0 to Turkey on Matchday 1, but then defeated Georgia 4-0 while the hosts went down 2-1 to Croatia. So Northern Ireland knew a victory by more than one goal would ensure progress, and they did so comfortably with a Sara McFadden hat-trick and goals from Rebecca Corish and Ashley Hutton. Turkey beat Georgia 9-0, but the three-way head-to-head between the top trio favours Northern Ireland.

Welsh win
Like their UK counterparts, Wales forwent the last edition of this tournament but will now have a chance of qualifying for Finland. Both they are Kazakhstan had won their opening Group 5 games against hosts F.Y.R. Macedonia, and Wales's goal difference meant they only needed a draw. Wales led 1-0 at the break, and completed a 2-1 victory and will now play in the top level of qualifying for the first time in more than a decade.

Perfect Romania
Romania had already wrapped up first place in Group 4 on Monday with wins against Azerbaijan and Bulgaria, and the home side completed a perfect run with a 5-0 victory against Estonia. Second place belongs to Bulgaria following their 3-0 defeat of Azerbaijan. Slovakia were ensured of first place in Group 3 in Malta before today's games and celebrated by defeating the hosts 8-0, including a hat-trick from substitute Katarína Dugovičová, while hosts Luxembourg secured second with a 1-1 draw against Lithuania, though the game was abandoned on 63 minutes, not long after Joëlle Leuchter had equalised for the home team, due to heavy rain.