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Denmark pip Sweden to final tournament

Second qualifying round Group 3 hosts Denmark recorded a last-day 3-0 win against Finland to claim first place ahead of Sweden, setting up a semi-final with Germany in June.

Denmark celebrate reaching next month's final tournament
Denmark celebrate reaching next month's final tournament ©DBU

Denmark pipped Sweden and Finland to the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship finals after an exciting conclusion to second qualifying round Group 3.

Going into the last day, Sweden led Denmark on goals scored with Finland only a point behind, but mini-tournament hosts Denmark secured a 3-0 win against Finland while Sweden lost 2-1 to the Netherlands. In the semi-finals in Nyon on 26 June, Denmark face Germany, the nation that beat them on their previous appearance at that stage in 2008, when they finished third.

Sweden were missing the 11-goal top scorer from the first qualifying round, Marija Banušić, through injury but still started with a 3-2 defeat of Finland. Their early pressure paid off through Moa Hedell and before the break Fanny Andersson's long solo run set up Sandra Törnros to double the lead.

Finland responded in the second half, Vera Saastamoinen reducing her team's arrears. However, almost instantly another good Andersson run allowed Linda Hallin to restore the two-goal cushion, although Tiia Peltonen's late strike ensured a tense finish.

In the other opening game, the Netherlands made a tremendous start through Anna Miedema, but after she went close again Denmark responded via Mille Poulsen. The hosts were now in control and when Lisa Bosveld fouled Matilde Christiansen in the box on 23 minutes, Sarah Hansen stepped up to give Denmark a 2-1 lead they never relinquished.

Two days later Dutch hopes of matching their 2010 run to third place were ended 2-1 by Finland. Chelly Drost cancelled out Julia Tunturi's opener and although the Netherlands dominated after the break, they could not beat inspired Finland keeper Pauliina Tähtinen. Their frustration was compounded when Dominique Janssen scored a last-minute own goal. That kept Finland in contention as Denmark and Sweden drew 0-0.

That left Sweden ahead but goals from Hansen on three and 68 minutes plus a late Anna Fisker clincher against Finland were to prove enough for Denmark, for who winger Frederikke Thøgersen was the outstanding player in the mini-tournament.

Sweden had been provisional leaders for much of the afternoon through a tenth-minute Hallin goal against the Netherlands, running on to a high ball and keeping her nerve one-on-one. The Netherlands picked up their game but Sweden remained dangerous on the counter, Hallin going close twice late in the half.

Yet after Hansen scored her second Sweden needed to strike again, only for Vera Berends to hit the woodwork before Anne Bosveld, the twin sister of Lisa, to equalise. Now the Netherlands were in control and substitue Miedema struck an added-time winner. Sweden have now exited all five Women's U17 editions in the second qualifying round.