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Netherlands lay down marker as France falter

The Netherlands made history by beating Lithuania 11-0 but it was defeat for France and a shock for Germany in Wales that stole the headlines as the second qualifying round kicked off.

Lieke Martens (No9) was among the goals on a disappointing day for France
Lieke Martens (No9) was among the goals on a disappointing day for France ©Sportsfile

France have it all to do if they are to defend their UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship title in north-east Italy this summer after losing their second qualifying round opener 3-0 to Denmark.

Jean-Michel Degrange's side struggled to make an impact in the final third against the Group 1 hosts in Odense, and were chasing the game the moment Pernille Harder broke the deadlock midway through the first half. Sofie Junge Pedersen swiftly doubled the advantage, Harder adding further gloss after the hour to leave Denmark in high spirits ahead of Saturday's meeting with the Netherlands.

The Jong Oranje, semi-finalists last season, will present formidable opponents having kicked off their campaign with a record-equalling 11-0 victory over Lithuania, Lieke Martens scoring four of the Netherlands' goals. Group 3 produced a couple of surprises with Leyla Güngör hitting a hat-trick as Turkey won 3-1 against Iceland while Germany, the traditional powerhouse of this competition, were held to a 1-1 draw by Wales.

Elsewhere, England and Norway made winning starts to Group 4 while Belgium's 2-2 draw with Serbia allowed Russia to steal a march in Group 2 by beating Finland 1-0. A goal from 17-year-old Lia Wälti earned Switzerland a 1-1 draw with Sweden but both nations trail Czech Republic in Group 5 after a Lucie Voňková hat-trick inspired a 4-1 success against Ukraine. Spain are the Group 6 pacesetters after their 3-0 triumph against Poland was coupled with a 3-3 draw between Austria and Scotland.

The teams are all back in action on Saturday before the second qualifying round concludes on Tuesday. The six group winners, along with the runner-up with the best record against the first and third-placed sides in their section, will travel to the finals in Italy from 30 May to 11 June.

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