Last chance to reach women's finals

The play-offs begin this weekend with Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain, the Netherlands, Scotland, Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine, the Republic of Ireland and Iceland competing for the five remaining places in next summer's finals.

The Helsinki Olympic Stadium will stage the final on 10 September
©SPL-FBF

The UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ play-off first legs are played this weekend with ten sides competing for the five remaining places in next summer's finals.

Italy hope
Hosts Finland and qualifying group winners Denmark, England, France, Norway, Sweden and holders Germany are already through to the finals draw at Helsinki's Finlandia Hall on 18 November, and by Thursday the last berths in the tournament, expanded from eight to 12 teams for the first time, will be filled. Two of the ties begin on Saturday; Italy – the only 2005 finalists not already through – will aim to repeat their play-off success against the Czech Republic of four years ago when they visit Horni Pocernice, and Spain hope to move closer to qualifying for the first time since 1997 as they play their home leg against the Netherlands.

New names
On Sunday only one side who have competed at a previous final tournament, Russia, are in action as they visit Scotland. Iceland, who reached the quarter-finals in 1995 when it was a two-legged affair, go to the Republic of Ireland and Slovenia play Ukraine. The second leg of the match between Italy and the Czech Republic is on Wednesday with the other ties concluding the following day. The finals run from 23 August until 10 September 2009, with matches at the Helsinki Football Stadium and Olympic Stadium in the capital, Tampere, Turku and Lahti.

2009 UEFA European Women's Championship play-offs
First leg: 26 October (*25 October)
Second leg: 30 October (**29 October)
Team named first home in opening leg
Republic of Ireland v Iceland
Czech Republic* v Italy**
Scotland v Russia
Slovenia v Ukraine
Spain* v Netherlands

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