Spain conquered Italy, Germany dominated and seven other teams extended flawless starts as Europe's 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying round stepped up a gear.
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Spain's 2-0 success against Group 2 rivals Italy was the standout result in October while Germany's 13-0 dismantling of Slovenia proved the month's biggest victory. Those two winners were joined by England, Finland, Sweden, Scotland, Norway, France and Switzerland in maintaining their perfect starts as Europe's 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying round stepped up a gear.
European champions, and two-time World Cup winners Germany are predictably dominating the section, following up their opening-day success with two more wins in October. Silvia Neid's outfit were 13-0 victors in Slovenia with hat-tricks from Célia Šašić and Anja Mittag and then beat Croatia 4-0 – though it took 52 minutes to break the deadlock. The Germans have 26 goals already and their defence is still unbreached. The unbeaten Republic of Ireland are two points adrift of the pacesetters after worsening Slovenia's month with a 3-0 away win. Slovakia sneaked past Croatia 1-0 before slipping up at home to Russia, as every team in the standings got off the mark.
Spain were not involved in September, so quickly made up for lost time with two wins from as many games in October to top the group. Sonia Bermúdez scored two in a 6-0 dismantling of visiting Estonia, then struck again in a 2-0 home victory that ended Italy's perfect start and left the Azzurre second on goal difference. Estonia recovered sufficiently to get a first win, beating Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, who also fell to Czech Republic in a disappointing month. Romania then stifled the Czechs to stay level with them on four points.
Sitting pretty after three matches are Switzerland, who edged out UEFA Women's EURO 2013 semi-finalists Denmark 1-0 to take charge of the group with nine points. Ramona Bachmann scored the goal – her fourth of qualifying. The Danes and Serbia both put a first point on the board with a 1-1 draw, but the Serbs succumbed at home to Iceland, who claimed their first points at the second time of asking. Israel got their preliminary campaign off to the perfect start, two second-half goals putting Malta to the sword.
Twice winners in September, Scotland repeated the feat this month, with Jane Ross netting once in a 2-0 defeat of fellow Brits Northern Ireland and then a hat-trick in a 4-0 win in Poland. Scotland coach Anna Signeul cannot get too comfortable, however, as her compatriots Sweden are hot on her team's heels. The yet-to-concede Swedes made it three wins from three by overcoming Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Faroe Islands; Lotta Schelin converted a penalty in each. Northern Ireland and Bosnia both got up and running with a draw.
UEFA Women's EURO 2013 runners-up Norway, world champions in 1995, extended their 100% start on the road to Canada with two wins in October. Caroline Hansen took her goal tally to five as ex-Canada coach Even Pellerud's team saw off Albania and the Netherlands. Even so, three goals are all that separate the leaders from second-placed Belgium. The Belgians made light work of Greece (7-1) and Portugal (4-1), No10 Aline Zeler firing three and two goals respectively. Debutantes Albania posted their first competitive home victory against point-less Greece, while 75th-minute substitute Anna Miedema hit a hat-trick as the Netherlands prevailed 7-0 in Portugal.
Caretaker manager Brent Hills is enjoying life in the England dugout. The still unbreached Three Lionesses registered a 2-0 win against Wales and a 4-0 success in Turkey to prolong their winning sequence and go nine points clear in the section. Belarus notched a first victory at the third attempt, at the expense of competition newcomers Montenegro, who were also dispatched 4-1 by second seeds Ukraine, the latter opening their campaign.
Philippe Bergeroo is revelling in a similarly bright start to his tenure with France. Les Bleues supplemented their opening-day triumph with a 3-1 success in Austria – denying Dominik Thalhammer's charges back-to-back victories after they had run out 3-0 winners in Hungary. Finland set the pace in the group, however, gathering nine points from nine after eking out a 1-0 victory over a stubborn Kazakhstan. The Kazakhs had previously earned their first point (as had their opponents) in a 1-1 stalemate with Bulgaria. The pair prop up the table, below Hungary, who eased to a 4-0 home win against the Bulgarians after visiting keeper Roksana Shahanska's first-half dismissal.
The seven group winners qualify and the four runners-up with the best records against the sides finishing first, third, fourth and fifth in their groups go into the play-offs next autumn for the one remaining UEFA berth in Canada. Europe were given eight places in the expanded 24-team finals.