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Netherlands hold England but Spain stay perfect

A penalty save denied England victory in the Netherlands while Spain maintained their perfect record in qualifying but Finland lost theirs after a 2-2 draw in Belarus.

Sonia struck twice to give Spain a third win
Sonia struck twice to give Spain a third win ©Vladimir Shapovalov

England missed the chance to go top of UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying Group 6 after a 0-0 draw in the Netherlands while Spain maintained their perfect record but Finland had their snatched away by Belarus.

When England and the Netherlands met in the 2009 semi-finals, Hope Powell's side won a tight game 2-1 in extra time and it was pretty cagey in Zwolle with barely a first-half chance. On 50 minutes Fara Williams was fouled in the box by Loes Geurts but the Netherlands goalkeeper made amends by saving the midfielder's penalty. Manon Melis was the main threat for the Netherlands, who were largely on top, but the spoils were shared.

The Netherlands remain two points ahead of England in Group 6 with these teams' rematch in June looking decisive. In the same section, Croatia struck twice in added time through substitutes Petra Glavać and Izabela Lojna to hold visitors Slovenia 3-3, both sides' first point.

Spain secured a vital 3-2 home win against Switzerland in Group 2 on Sunday and today prevailed 4-0 in Kazakhstan to move on to nine points from three games in a section where Germany, who they welcome next month, have a perfect record from two fixtures. Sonia scored twice while Adriana converted a penalty to move on to five goals for qualifying. In the same section Romania beat Turkey 7-1, Cosmina Duşa striking a hat-trick, and stand on six points from four matches.

Group 5 has been thrown wide open by Belarus's impressive 2-2 draw at home to Finland, semi-finalists in 2005 and in the last eight as hosts two years ago. In each half Linda Sällström gave dominant Finland the lead but each time Ekaterina Avkhimovich equalised. Now Finland, Belarus, Ukraine and Slovakia, who beat Estonia 3-1 on Wednesday, all have four points from two games. Belarus go to Slovakia and Ukraine next month.

Scotland and Wales are both playing catch-up in Group 4 after their 2-2 draw in Edinburgh. The visitors, who secured their first point at the third time of asking, led twice then held on to parity to deny their hosts a perfect record after two outings. France, who Scotland visit next on 31 March, have won all four matches in the section with the Republic of Ireland on six points from three games.

Hungary secured their first points in Group 3, winning 4-0 in Bulgaria, Fanny Vágó and Lilla Sipos both scoring twice. In the sections where there were no games today, Italy and Denmark have nine points from three games in Groups 1 and 7 respectively.