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Norway beat Ukraine to reach Women's World Cup

Norway 2-0 Ukraine (agg: 3-0)
The 1995 world champions are through to the finals after goals from Cecilie Pedersen and Solveig Gulbrandsen earned a convincing victory.

Cecilie Pedersen (centre) opened the scoring for Norway
Cecilie Pedersen (centre) opened the scoring for Norway ©Arild H. Kaarmo, sportsfotograf.no

Cecilie Pedersen and Solveig Gulbrandsen scored in each half as Norway defeated Ukraine 2-0 to advance to the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup finals in Germany 3-0 on aggregate.

Leading 1-0 from Saturday's first leg in Chernigov, the 1995 World Cup winners wasted little time in improving their advantage through Pedersen in the sixth minute before Gulbrandsen rounded out the scoring four minutes from time.

Ukraine 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 side from North and Central America, they must come through two more play-offs, the first of which will be against Italy on 2/3 and 6/7 October.

There are no such complications for Norway who dominated from the start and went ahead when Ukraine goalkeeper Nadiya Baranova was unable to control a ball played through the middle, allowing Pedersen to pounce and open the scoring.

Norway flowed forward and the only surprise was that they did not add to the lead before the break as the chances came and went, a combination of profligacy from the home side and Baranova's saves keeping the score down.

Ukraine came more into the game towards the end of the first half but Norway were playing within themselves and it was no surprise when they struck again with four minutes to play, Gulbrandsen scoring with a lovely lob over Baranova after being played through by Lisа-Marie Woods.

There was even time for Pedersen to hit the bar in the final minute but by then Norway had already done enough to prolong their run of having qualified for every Women's World Cup finals. "We dominated from beginning to end, but we would have liked the second goal a little bit earlier to finish the game off," said Norway assistant coach Hans Knutsen.