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Czechs win showdown to pip Scotland to summit

Czech Republic beat Scotland 4-0 in a must-win matchday three showdown to clinch pole position by leapfrogging Pauline Hamill's team, who settle for a runners-up spot.

Eva Haniaková's Czech Republic earned a vital final-day victory to finish top
Eva Haniaková's Czech Republic earned a vital final-day victory to finish top ©Randi Sokoloff

The Czech Republic saved the best for last as they defeated Scotland on matchday three to leapfrog their opponents and take top spot in UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship qualifying round Group 1. 

Three points clear going into the final day, Scotland's position at the summit was by no means guaranteed with the Czechs still to play, and so it proved. Eva Haniaková's prolific side blew Scotland away, Karolína Křivská's first-half double sending her team on their way to a 4-0 win which ultimately clinched pole position. 

Northern Ireland required a win against Montenegro and a Scotland victory if they were to progress in second, and while Sarah Connolly's hat-trick helped them keep their side of the bargain in another 4-0 triumph, they were left rueing defeat by Scotland in the second game at North Lodge Park.

The top two began life in Group 1 in contrasting fashion. While Czech Republic came unstuck against Northern Ireland – Aimee Mackin firing a first-half treble as the Czechs lost a seven-goal thriller – a Kirsty Howat double helped Scotland to an emphatic 5-1 defeat of Montenegro on matchday one.

It was a result Pauline Hamill's team replicated two days later, managing what the Czechs could not in sinking Northern Ireland; this time Alyshia Walker helping herself to a hat-trick. Czech Republic, though, soon restored any waning confidence with a resounding 11-0 victory against Montenegro. Kristýna Daňková hit a hat-trick and Křivská went one better to shape the impressive result and set up their win or bust final-day showdown.