Denmark, England, Netherlands celebrate
Thursday, September 20, 2012
"Awesome" for Denmark, "a relief" for England and "really beautiful" for the Netherlands: UEFA.com has reaction from three nations who clinched finals places as the groups ended.
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Denmark, England and Netherlands all had something to celebrate on Wednesday night after clinching their places at UEFA Women's EURO 2013 following the final group qualifiers.
Needing only a point at home to Portugal to pip Austria to first place in Group 7, Denmark earned a 2-0 win in Vejle but had to wait 65 minutes before Pernille Harder and Line Røddik, from the penalty spot, found the target. England, runners-up in 2009, were also made to work by Croatia but Jill Scott, Eniola Aluko and Casey Stoney made sure of a 3-0 success in Walsall on the night Rachel Yankey won a record 120th cap. That knocked the Netherlands off the top of Group 6 but, thanks to results elsewhere, they too avoided the play-offs as best runners-up and can look forward to the finals in Sweden next July. UEFA.com rounds up the reaction.
Pernille Harder, Denmark midfielder
It is fantastic that we have qualified. We were very nervous because of the importance of the game. Although we knew that a draw would be enough, it was a great relief when we finally scored. Now we are really looking forward to showing our skills in Sweden next summer.
Sanne Troelsgaard, Denmark midfielder
It is awesome that we have finally qualified for the EURO. The reason why it took us so long to decide the game was partly nerves, partly the fact that Portugal stood so far back on the pitch. It was really difficult for us to open their defence.
Kenneth Heiner-Møller, Denmark coach
Maybe we should have been more aggressive for part of the match. However, I think we were good at putting pressure on them when we took the initiative. I do not think there is any team at the finals that we cannot beat, but on the other hand we can lose to all of them! However, if we can go on from our group, anything is possible.
Rachel Yankey, England winger
It was all about making sure we played football in the right way. We probably could have scored more than we did but it was a good performance and all that mattered was making sure we got the three points and making sure we went through. It was so important that we qualified for this tournament and now we've got to go there, be positive and prove to people that we are good enough to start winning things.
Hope Powell, England manager
It's a relief, because it means we don't have to go through the danger of the play-offs. It's nice to qualify automatically, top of the group. Now we can focus on next year. We got the three points, that was the main thing. In patches, I thought we played very well. It has been a good week in terms of training and they transferred what they did in training onto the pitch
Roger Reijners, Netherlands coach
It is really beautiful that we qualified. Of course we were already sure of a play-off place, but in there one never knows what could happen. This is what we deserve. We have played an excellent qualification campaign and gained 19 points from eight matches, so we are the deserved best runners-up. Playing in the EURO is crucial for the development of our team and women's football in general. In the Netherlands, football has become the biggest women's team sport, bigger than hockey already. We want to grow to a higher level, and in the long run we want to be among the best in the world. This is an important step towards that.
What will be possible for us next year in Sweden, we will have to wait and see. The recent games against England and Sweden [1-0 and 2-1 away defeats] showed that the Dutch women's team are knocking on the door of the best in Europe. But now we have to cross the threshold.