Group A5 review: Italy survived a loss to Sweden to top the pool, while Switzerland were thankful to a late goal.
Italy survived losing their second match to Sweden to win through to this summer's UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship by virtue of a superior head-to-head record against Switzerland.
Group A5 was always going to be among the most competitive of the second qualifying round pools, and so it proved with none of the sides able to win all their mini-tournament matches. The section opened with the Swedes, beaten semi-finalists in Leipzig last year, drawing 1-1 with Serbia and Montenegro and the Italians defeating Switzerland 4-1.
Agnese Ricco proved the chief tormentor of the Swiss, scoring a hat-trick with goals in the ninth, 45th and 80th minutes. The striker found the going much tougher at Villa Lagarina as Sweden snuffed out the Italians to register three points thanks to Emma Wilhelmsson's goal in the 12th minute. In the other game, Vanessa Bürki scored four times and Lara Dickenmann three as Switzerland beat Serbia and Montenegro 8-1.
Going into the final round of matches, Sweden led the table with four points, one more than Italy and Switzerland. Sweden ended the day in third place, though, and out of contention for the final tournament in Finland after losing 3-1 to Switzerland.
Bürki and Dickenmann scored in quick succession just before half-time to put Switzerland 2-0 ahead before Linda Forsberg pulled one back in the 85th minute. There was still time, however, for Bürki to make it 3-1 and leave Switzerland with a goal difference of plus six and six points - enough to earn them a place in the finals as one of the two best runners-up.
Italy on top
Italy were crowned Group A5 winners after beating Serbia and Montenegro 3-2 in a hard-fought contest in Arco. Serbia and Montenegro opened the scoring in the sixth minute through Marija Vukcevic only for Alia Guagni, Ricco and Serena Coppolino to make it 3-1 to Italy by the 17th minute. Although Jovana Sretenovic reduced the arrears in the final minute, Elisabetta Bavagnoli's side held on to qualify.