England qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup by completing a 5-2 aggregate victory against Switzerland in the play-offs, despite losing goalkeeper Rachel Brown to a first-half red card.
Leading 2-0 after Sunday's first leg, England doubled their advantage through Kelly Smith – who had earlier missed a penalty after being felled by Rahel Graf – and Eniola Aluko. Ramona Bachmann reduced Switzerland arrears on 41 minutes, moments before Brown was shown a straight red card following an altercation with the goalscorer. Nevertheless, Fara Williams added a third from the spot five minutes after the break, with Selina Zumbühl's free-kick mere consolation.
"We're naturally disappointed," said Switzerland coach Béatrice von Siebenthal. "We conceded two goals in as many minutes so it was always going to be hard to recover." England manager Hope Powell added: "I feel really relieved. It wasn't easy in the second half after the red card, but my team played with real discipline and soon scored a third goal early. I'm sure Switzerland can join us at the world Cup."
Smith had also hit the crossbar with a long-range chip before she converted Alex Scott's cross from the right on 32 minutes, while Aluko added a second on the night 120 seconds later following a one-two with Smith. Bachmann pulled one back when she ran across the box and fired in a shot which crossed the line despite Scott's best efforts.
Williams – a scorer in the first leg – eased any nerves in the wake of Brown's dismissal when she converted England's second spot kick after Smith was once again fouled, this time by Caroline Abbé. Switzerland did at least score the goal of the night through Zumbühl, whose long-range free-kick curled over substitute goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain.
England go into the final tournament draw on 29 November and will compete in Germany from 26 June to 17 July 2011. Switzerland's hopes of qualifying are not over, however, as one place remains in the UEFA-CONCACAF play-offs. In order to earn a two-legged tie against the third-ranked country from North and Central America, they must come through two more play-offs, the first of which will be against Denmark on 2/3 and 6/7 October.
©UEFA.com 1998-2010. All rights reserved.
|Attempts off target||1||2|