The UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ play-offs conclude over the next two days with Italy, Ukraine, the Netherlands and Russia defending first-leg leads at home and Iceland and the Republic of Ireland level at 1-1.
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Five two-legged ties will decide the fate of the ten hopefuls aiming to join hosts Finland and group winners Germany, Denmark, Norway, England, France and Sweden in next summer's showpiece. One fixture concludes this afternoon and Italy, who never failed to qualify for the old eight-team final tournament, will aim to book their place in the expanded 12-strong event as they welcome the Czech Republic to Gubbio, the Azzurre currently 1-0 up.
Three other home teams hold leads in Thursday's four matches. Ukraine are handily placed to reach their first finals as they won 3-0 in Slovenia on Sunday, with the return in Chernigov. The Netherlands also look in useful shape to make their debut in a senior women's event with Spain coming to Volendam 2-0 down. Meanwhile, Russia trailed twice in Scotland on Sunday but claimed a 3-2 win to defend in Nalchik. The only tie that is level will be at a packed Laugardalsvöllur Stadium in Reykjavik, where Iceland and the Republic of Ireland kick off with the aggregate score at 1-1.
All 12 finalists go into the draw at Helsinki's Finlandia Hall at 14.00 local time (13.00CET) on 18 November. Media representatives wishing to attend the draw should apply for accreditation through the Football Association of Finland by emailing email@example.com. The deadline for accreditations is 12 November. The finals run from 23 August until 10 September 2009, with matches being held at the Helsinki Football Stadium and Olympic Stadium in the capital as well as at venues in Tampere, Turku and Lahti.