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Crucial weekend in Women's EURO qualifying

France, Denmark and Finland could all book their places at the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 final tournament on Saturday and there are also crucial games in Wales, Norway and Belarus.

France can secure their finals place on Saturday
France can secure their finals place on Saturday ©Getty Images

The last two sets of UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying group stage games take place over the coming week and three finals spots in Sweden could be claimed on Saturday.

In June, holders Germany and Italy became the first teams to confirm automatic qualification, which will go to the nine group winners and the runners-up with the best record against the rest of the top five in their section. With hosts Sweden also already assured of a place in the finals between 10 and 28 July 2013, the number of definite contenders could double at the weekend.

France and Denmark, like Italy, are yet to drop a point in their groups and are in position to reap the rewards on Saturday with a game to spare. To make it to neighbouring Sweden, Group 7 leaders Denmark need only draw at home to an Austria side already guaranteed at least a play-off for the first time.

Olympic semi-finalists France, meanwhile, will seal qualification from Group 4 by beating the Republic of Ireland in Guingamp, though will be through before kick-off if their last opponents, Scotland, fail to win in Wales. Should Wales prevail, they will move above the Scots into second and leave Scotland requiring a point against France next Wednesday to reach the play-offs.

Unbeaten Finland are six points ahead of Slovakia, Ukraine and Belarus in Group 5. A draw in Estonia and Finland coach Andrée Jeglertz would lead the side to his native Sweden next summer. Belarus and Ukraine, who both have a game in hand on Slovakia, meet in Mogilev in a match that will go a long way to deciding who finishes second.

Group 3 cannot be settled on Saturday but Iceland, at home to Northern Ireland, will hope to stay top going into Wednesday's trip to Norway. A point behind Iceland, Norway are also one above Belgium, who cannot afford to lose in Oslo if they are to remain in contention.

Italy, who have already won Group 1, will want to maintain their perfect record against Poland on Sunday in a game that is important to the visitors, who trail second-placed Russia by two points. If Russia win in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia the previous day, Poland will need a victory themselves ahead of their Wednesday mission to Moscow.

No issues will be resolved in the other two sections. Germany have already won Group 2 and runners-up Spain know they will be in the 21 September play-off draw. Group 5 will be determined on Wednesday when England look to win their match in hand against Croatia and overtake the Netherlands, who may yet end as the best runners-up.


Qualified: Italy, Germany, Sweden (hosts)
Clinched at least play-off: France, England, Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Austria
Confirmed in play-offs: Spain
Still in contention: Russia, Poland*, Iceland, Norway, Belgium, Ukraine, Belarus*, Slovakia*, Scotland, Wales*

*Can only make play-offs

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