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Finland pip Norway to top spot

Outgoing coach Jarmo Matikainen said Finland did "very well" to finish two points ahead of Norway to win Group 1 on home soil with Serbia also impressing in third place.

Emilia Iskanius in action for Finland against Serbia
Emilia Iskanius in action for Finland against Serbia ©Jussi Eskola

Hosts Finland won UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship qualifying round Group 1, finishing two points ahead of Norway who could depart the tournament unbeaten.

In a high-quality mini-tournament, Finland went into the last day two points in front of Norway and a 0-0 draw ensured their progress to the second qualifying round. Norway will hope to join them but only the five runners-up with the best record against the teams first and third in their group will progress and their 3-3 draw against Serbia may cost them.

That game was on the opening day and was a thriller, in the first 31 minutes Norway leading, then trailing, then going 3-2 up. Jelena Ćubrilo secured the draw with 22 minutes left, a fine result for Serbia against a side tipped to go through. Finland beat Kazakhstan 8-0, aided by a Henna Honkanen hat-trick.

Two days later Norway also overcame Kazakhstan 8-0, Ada Hegerberg completing a seven-minute hat-trick, while Juliette Kemppi pounced in added time to give Finland a 1-0 win against Serbia. Jelena Canković had missed a penalty and she and Jovana Damnjanović proved a real handful for Finland.

A spot-kick five minutes into added time, Damnjanović doing the honours, did give Serbia a 1-1 draw against Kazakhstan and third place - Ulpan Pazyl having opened the scoring early on from distance for a side who defended stoutly. In the group decider, Norway showed their ability but Vera Varis was superb in the Finland goal to clinch the point they needed.

The mini-tournament marked Jarmo Matikainen's last game in charge of Finland's female youth teams before becoming Wales senior women's coach, and he said: "We saw Norway play in the Nordic Championship and they were the best team there. This was an extremely tough group. Norway not winning it shows that. Our girls did very well."