Italy begin title defence with win

UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship holders Italy made a good start to the first qualifying round but two of last year's finalists, England and Scotland, both slipped up.

July's final hero Alice Parisi struck twice on Thursday
July's final hero Alice Parisi struck twice on Thursday ©Sportsfile

Parisi double
Italy, playing in Group 11 in Bulgaria, defeated Estonia 6-0. Sabrina Marchese struck on four minutes and after the break Alice Parisi, scorer of the only goal in last year's final against Norway, doubled the lead. Further goals came from Marchese, Valentina Cernola, Pamela Gueli and Parisi. In the same pool, Ukraine defeated Bulgaria 3-0. Norway themselves opened their campaign on Friday in Group 1 with an 8-0 win against the Faroe Islands; hosts Portugal lost 4-1 to Romania.

England held
However, two of the other sides to compete in France in July – England and Scotland – dropped points in Group 5. Scotland lost 1-0 to hosts Slovenia and England had to come from behind to draw 1-1 with Slovakia. Sweden, who lost to Italy in last season's semi-finals, defeated Croatia 5-0 in Group 3 while Wales overcame Latvia 3-0. Of the other of the 2007/08 finalists, France defeated 2009/10 finals hosts F.Y.R. Macedonia 4-0 but Belgium stole the Group 9 headlines as they struck 18 without reply against Georgia. Spain, with hat-tricks from María Losada and Patri, beat Cyprus 9-0 in Group 4 to lead the Netherlands after their 7-0 victory against home side Lithuania.

Russia cruise
Russia, like Spain, France and Russia are past U19 champions and were the biggest winners of the day with a 19-0 defeat of Moldova as Hungary overcame Group 8 hosts Bosnia-Herzegovina 9-3. Group 6 in Baku produced two close games; Azerbaijan beat the Czech Republic 2-1 and Finland defeated Northern Ireland 1-0. Denmark started Group 10 by overcoming Kazakhstan 10-0 while Switzerland defeated Serbia 2-0. Austria top Group 2 as they beat Turkey 5-0 and Poland defeated Armenia 3-0. Fixtures in all those groups, other than the one in Portugal, continue on Saturday and Tuesday but one pool is running a day ahead; on Wednesday the Republic of Ireland overcame Greece 3-0 in Group 7, where hosts Israel lost 2-1 to Iceland.

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