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Women's U17 favourites begin well

Last season's finalists Germany and Spain made a confident start to the second qualifying round, while Norway shone against Finland and the Netherlands and England set up a decider.

Spain celebrate scoring against Denmark
Spain celebrate scoring against Denmark ©RFEF

Holders Germany preserved their unbeaten UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship record, while beaten 2009 finalists Spain mauled Denmark in their opening second qualifying round fixture.

Germany have won both previous editions of the competition without losing a game, and there was no deviation from the norm as they won 1-0 against Group 4 hosts Austria in their opening game in the section. Lena Petermann's finish after 26 minutes was a little fortuitous, but Ralf Peter's side created enough chances to earn their luck.

"We were a little bit lucky with the win," Peter said. "We played very weakly today. Our attack had no power, we couldn't create many chances, and our winning goal was a big mistake from the Austrian team." Austria's Johannes Uhlig added: "We are proud that we could play that way against Germany, which is the strongest team in Europe."

Norway beat Finland 2-1 in the other Group 4 fixture, with Anna Marthe Birkeland putting in a great display and scoring her side's first goal. Victorious coach Lena Tyriberget said: "For us it's a perfect start, but we know the next two games against Austria and Germany will be very hard too."

Spain lost to Germany in the 2009 final, but delivered a reminder of their class as they won 5-1 against 2008 semi-finalists Denmark, Raquel Pinel and Sara Mérida scoring twice each. However, while Spain's passing play was dazzling, Denmark played much of the game without a recognised goalkeeper, Rikke Line Randrup Kristensen taking up the gloves after No1 Tanja Rasmussen and her stand-in Josefine Alberts were both taken off injured.

In the other Group 2 game, Switzerland and Belgium drew 0-0, with the latter's coach Joëlle Piron saying: "Switzerland had two good chances but so did we in the second half, even though they were pushing us hard. I am happy with the match and the result."

Sweden set the early pace in Group 3, Jonna Anderson putting in a stirring performance and scoring twice as they beat Poland 4-1, while Ukraine were let down by their defence, losing 3-1 to the Republic of Ireland. Marie Bengtsson, the Sweden coach, said: "The strength of the Swedish team is in defense, but today we attacked very well as well. All teams here in Simferopol are strong enough and they all are favourites for this tournament. However, our goal is to win this group."

Groups 2, 3 and 4 will continue on Monday, with the final fixtures scheduled for Thursday. Group 1 will conclude on Tuesday, with England and the Netherlands playing off for top spot. Linda Bakker's 22nd-minute header gave the Netherlands a 1-0 win against Serbia, while England drew 0-0 with Italy despite being depleted following Nikita Parris's 27th-minute dismissal. Italy hit the post four times but are out, while England must beat the Netherlands to pip them to first place.

Netherlands coach Maria van Kortenhof said: "We didn't start well, we were frightened of losing the game and we didn't press them. But in these tournament the most important thing is the three points, and fortunately we gained them."