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Stegius inspires Sweden past France

A Madeleine Stegius hat-trick gave Sweden a 3-2 win against hosts France that secured first place in Group 8 and leaves their opponents waiting nervously to avoid last season's fate.

Sweden celebrate beating France 3-2
Sweden celebrate beating France 3-2 ©District des Landes de Football

Sweden kept up their record of always progressing through the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship first qualifying round – with a 3-2 win against France who are waiting nervously on a second straight exit at this stage.

Going into the last Group 8 games, hosts France led Sweden on goal difference after both had beaten Croatia and Israel. But a Madeleine Stegius hat-trick was the key to giving Sweden victory, while France – runners-up in the inaugural 2007/08 edition and third the season after that – will hope to be one of the five runners-up with the best record against the sides first and third in their pool to avoid last year's fate.

France were ahead after Matchday 1, beating Iceland 9-0 with a Claire Lavogez hat-trick while Sweden defeated Croatia 3-0 having been level at the break, Stegius scoring twice. She was on target again in a 2-0 win against Croatia while France saw off Croatia 4-0 to maintain their advantage. Croatia finished third after a 2-2 draw with Israel.

Knowing they needed to win their final game Sweden – whose late arrival meant the game was delayed half and hour – were two up on 27 minutes thanks to two Stegius goals, the second an intercepted back pass. In the last three minutes of the first half Clarisse Le Bihan and Méryl Wenger drew France level and they seemed set to go into the 16 November draw only for Stegius to win the game with six minutes to go.