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Poland top Group 2 to take last finals place

Poland came through their second qualifying round Group 2 campaign undefeated to secure the last UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship finals spot.

Ewa Pajor (right) struck against Ireland and Norway
Ewa Pajor (right) struck against Ireland and Norway ©Digitalsport

Poland grabbed the last available place in the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship finals by topping second qualifying round Group 2.

Norway and the Republic of Ireland found themselves already out of contention after the first two sets of games, each postponed due to bad weather to 27 and 29 March. That left the showdown between Poland and hosts Austria decisive, with Austria three points off the pace and needing a win.

Due to take place on 31 March, that match had to be postponed as well due to snow, with the sides finally playing out a 1-1 draw on Sunday that confirmed Poland as section winners. They now face a 25 June semi-final against fellow first-time qualifiers Belgium in Nyon.

Dominik Thalhammer's Austria got off to the worst possible start in the decider as Dżesika Jaszek struck just one minute in, putting Poland in a strong position to make it three wins from three in the group. Nicole Billa equalised on 50 minutes, but the home side were unable to find the extra goal they needed to replace Poland at the top of the section, with Zbigniew Witkowski's team holding firm.

The opening games did not go well for Austria as they lost 2-0 to Norway, who produced fine goals either side of half-time courtesy of Synne Jensen – who also missed a penalty – and Cesilie Andreassen. As for Poland, they overcame Ireland 2-1, with Ewa Pajor outstanding as she scored the first and threatened throughout. Paulina Dudek added the second before Amy O'Connor's last-gasp consolation.

In the second set of fixtures, the two opening winners met and Poland ended Norway's hopes with a 3-0 success thanks to goals from Pajor, substitute Jaszek and Dudek. Poland would have been through already had Austria not beaten the Republic of Ireland, but the home side prevailed 4-1. Billa, Barbara Dunst, Teresa Knauseder and Valentina Schwarzlmüller all found the net prior to Megan Connolly's 79th-minute penalty, setting up a final-day crunch match with Poland.