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Switzerland beat England to reach home finals

A remarkable comeback on the opening day of Group 1 and a 1-0 win against England helped Switzerland qualify for the first time, setting up a Nyon semi-final with France.

Switzerland celebrate qualification after victory against England
Switzerland celebrate qualification after victory against England ©Berend Scholten

Switzerland earned a UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship semi-final against France after topping second qualifying round Group 1.

Three teams were in contention going into the deciders in Belgium, with only the hosts unable to qualify. Switzerland led the way and duly remained at the summit, a 1-0 victory against England securing their place in the final tournament, hosted by UEFA in their Swiss base of Nyon, for the first time. They will face France at Colovray Stadium at 11.00CET on Tuesday 26 June.

It also started well for Switzerland, Carmen Pulver's early finish putting them in front against Belgium on the opening day. Lotte Aertsen levelled, though, and the same player's saved shot early in the second half fell to Laura Van De Voorde, who turned in the rebound. When Aertsen made it 3-1 with a header three minutes from time it seemed all over, but substitute Aline Stöckli pulled one back and captain Alessa Castignetti made it 3-3.

Iceland ended the day on top as their fine play in attack took England by surprise. Svava Gudmundsdóttir set up Sandra Jessen for a 14th-minute goal that proved decisive, their combination up front proving effective.

However, two days later Switzerland beat Iceland by the same 1-0 scoreline, Pulver playing through the quick Sabrina Ribeaud to produce a superb finish on 47 minutes. Audrey Wuichet hit the bar soon after as she looked to double the lead but a solitary goal was enough. That left Switzerland a point clear of both Iceland and England, who ended Belgium's hopes with a 1-0 victory of their own as Paige Williams curled a left-footed corner straight in.

Lois Fidler's side could not build on that momentum, though, and missed out on top spot by virtue of Ribeaud's goal on Wednesday. That meant Iceland could not reach the head of the standings despite a 3-1 win against Belgium, captain Elín Jensen scoring twice.