Germany, England get going as France are stunned
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Holders Germany made a steady start to their defence but former winners Russia, Italy and France all suffered opening-day defeats, with Les Bleuettes shocked by Romania.
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Germany made a steady start to their UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship defence but some of the other leading lights at this level failed to shine as the second qualifying round got under way, with 2010 winners France stunned by Romania.
Last year's runners-up Norway made an impressive start against Belgium, racing into a 3-0 lead inside 25 minutes after goals from Guro Reiten, Ingrid Søndenå and the irrepressible Caroline Hansen. That is how it ended, and while there was a similarly frenetic opening between the Czech Republic and Portugal, their game was much closer. Level at 2-2 after 28 minutes, Eva Bartoňová's second of the game earned the Czechs victory.
Second-half goals from Katharina Leiding and Jennifer Cramer earned holders Germany a routine 2-0 victory over Poland. It was a similar story in the section's other fixture, where mini-tournament hosts Sweden were kept out for 58 minutes by a resolute Northern Ireland side before Elin Rubensson struck with their first shot on target. Further goals from Therése Boström and Fridolina Rolfö rounded off a 3-0 win.
Romania completed the shock of the opening fixtures as Andrea Herczeg's goal nine minutes from time dented 2010 winners France's hopes of returning to the finals after missing out last summer. They will now meet the team that barred their path at this stage last time around, a Netherlands side that today came from behind to earn a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Iceland.
Camilla Andersen struck twice, the first a penalty, as Denmark withstood concerted first-half pressure to win 3-0 against a Switzerland side that reached the last four last term. Jelena Čanković was the inspiration for Serbia, climbing off the bench to score one and set another up for Jovana Damnjanović in a 2-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland.
Two former winners met as Spain overwhelmed Italy in Sochi, the Azzurrine never recovering from two Raquel Pinel goals in five minutes shortly before half-time. Italy will face another stiff test on Monday when they come up against a Scotland side who secured a surprise 1-0 win against home team Russia, Heather Richards scoring the only goal of the game.
Nikita Parris scored the only goal as England, champions in 2009, edged to victory against Finland. Next up is Wales, the 2013 final hosts, whose 2-0 triumph over Austria was secured by Hayley Ladd's stunning solo effort.
The second qualifying round continues on Monday before concluding on Thursday. The six group winners and the runners-up with the best record against the teams first and third in their section will join hosts Turkey in the finals from 2 to 14 July.