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FYROM through to join Women's EURO big guns

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia won preliminary round Group 1 with a 1-0 defeat of Latvia and coach Dobrislav Dimoski said: "We could surprise even better sides."

FYROM line up before the 1-0 defeat of Latvia that gave them preliminary round Group 1 first place
FYROM line up before the 1-0 defeat of Latvia that gave them preliminary round Group 1 first place ©Tome Velkov

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia overcame Latvia 1-0 to go through from UEFA Women's EURO 2013 preliminary round Group 1 on home soil in Strumica.

A 5-1 defeat of Luxembourg had left FYROM a point clear of both that side and Latvia at kick-off. A draw would have been enough for the hosts as eliminated Lithuania beat Luxembourg 4-1 but Gentjana Rochi turned in Natasha Andonova's corner on 31 minutes to give FYROM victory in a match where they did not allow Latvia a single clear chance.

"It was a very important game and we played with a lot of passion, but also without taking risks," said FYROM coach Dobrislav Dimoski. "When we scored, the most important thing was not to allow our opponents to do something up front. We played calmly in defence, we never looked like we could lose."

FYROM, who had lost all 11 of their competitive games before this mini-tournament, will discover their qualifying group opponents on Monday and will compete with top-ranked nations on a home-and-away basis from September. "I am very satisfied with our performances over the whole tournament," Dimoski added. "We played without four first-choice defenders, who were injured. I hope I will have a full squad available for the next round and when we are at full strength, we could cause a surprise against even better teams."

Lithuania had the consolation of second place following their win against Luxembourg, who had led the group after the first day. Rasa Imanalijeva scored twice and also on target were Sonata Vanagaitė and Marija Stasiulytė – direct from a corner – while Amy Thompson claimed Luxembourg's consolation.