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Scotland sparkle, France and Sweden edge closer

Scotland made an big statement of intent on matchday two, while the likes of France and Sweden prised open the door to the elite round by making it back-to-back wins.

Turkey celebrate against Hungary
Turkey celebrate against Hungary ©Gabor Baricsa

Scotland made an eye-catching statement of intent on matchday two, while holders France and 2012 champions Sweden honed in on the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship qualifying elite round by recording commanding victories.

The 11 group winners and 10 runners-up with the best record against the sides finishing first and third in their section join top seeds Germany, England and Spain in the elite round from 5 to 10 April. Seven teams will qualify for next July's final tournament alongside hosts Norway.

Group 1 (hosts: Austria)
Austria tightened their grip at the summit by easing past Azerbaijan 2-0 courtesy of first-half goals from Maria Hasler and Nicole Bauer. Croatia also made it two wins from as many outings, their counterattacking prowess coming to the fore in a 5-0 humbling of Israel. The top two meet on Thursday. 

Group 2 (Republic of Ireland)
Denmark, aiming for a third straight qualification, flexed their muscles by powering ten unanswered goals past Kazakhstan, Sarah Hansen weighing in with a hat-trick. The Republic of Ireland are alongside them at the summit – eight of the 11 groups have two teams on six points – after two Katie McCabe goals, the second a penalty just before half-time, helped them to a 3=1 win against Greece.

Portugal celebrate
Portugal celebrate©LFF

Group 3 (Lithuania)
Pacesetters Sweden and Portugal each moved on to six points to set up an enticing showdown on Thursday. The 2012 champions dispatched Lithuania 10-0 thanks in part to an early 13-minute treble from midfielder Lina Hurtig, who went on to score a fourth. Not to be denied a share of the limelight, Vanessa Malho took her qualifying tally to four by registering three times as Portugal consigned Estonia to a 7-0 reverse.

Group 4 (Finland)
Goalkeeper Anna Zatuşevscaia made a string of fine saves but was helpless to prevent Moldova going down 3-1 against the Czech Republic. Finland are second with maximum points after a hard-fought victory over the Faroe Islands. The mini-tournament hosts led only through Vera Saastamoinen's first-half strike until six minutes from time when Emilia Grönholm sealed it in stunning fashion.

Group 5 (Belarus)
Russia cemented their place atop the standings after edging a 1-0 victory against second-placed Belarus, Elmira Piskunova's 15th-minute strike proving decisive in Minsk. Wales and Cyprus played out a 1-1 draw, meanwhile, as 17-year-old Samantha Quayle wiped out Victoria Zampa's first-half opener.

Group 6 (Serbia)
The Netherlands have one foot in the elite round after recording their second consecutive triumph, sweeping aside Malta 3-0. Serbia assumed second spot after edging out Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1 but will be confirmed as group winners if they overcome the Oranje in three days' time.

Group 7 (Slovenia)
Comprehensive winners on matchday one, Poland produced another commanding performance, cruising to a 4-0 success against Slovenia, Ewa Pajor hitting a stylish hat-trick. Thursday's opponents Italy are second with four points after prevailing by the same scoreline versus Albania.

Group 8 (FYROM)
sent out an ominous warning with a sensational 14-1 thrashing of Georgia, predatory forward Zoe Ness grabbing the headlines with five goals inside 25 first-half minutes. Romania trail the section frontrunners on goal difference, meanwhile, after condemning the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to a 3-1 defeat in Strumica.

Group 9 (Bulgaria)
France made light work of mini-tournament hosts Bulgaria in Kavarna, a goal inside 60 seconds from Pauline Cousin laying the foundations of a 7-0 success. Iceland wrapped up their second 5-0 win, Slovakia the victims as they remain hot on the heels of the holders, who they tackle on Thursday.

Group 10 (Hungary)
A Margaux Van Ackere hat-trick steered Belgium to a convincing 4-0 defeat of Montenegro that leaves them three points clear of the pack. Turkey climbed into second courtesy of a 3-2 win against Hungary, Esra Özkan notching the winner with 17 minutes remaining.

Group 11 (Latvia)
Switzerland added weight their elite round credentials by storming to a 8-0 triumph against Latvia. Markus Frei's team face Ukraine –2-1 winners versus Northern Ireland earlier in the day  on Thursday.

Reporters: Ernst Schneider, Javier Aja, Andrius Pacevičius, Jukka Malm, Andrei Vashkevich, Ivan Vjetrović, Milan Vuković, Grega Sever, Rok Šinkovc, Emil Gasevski, Ivan Vasevski, Tomáš Čunčík, Andy Clark, Sergey Vorobyov, Oleg Sokol, Stefan Lecca, Mikael Erävuori & Matthew Watson-Broughton.