Last weekend offered several teams the chance to qualify for EURO 2013. Germany reached the finals in Sweden without even having to play, as their main rivals Spain were beaten by Switzerland, while Italy also cruised into the tournament with a comfortable victory. Elsewhere, USA put in two spectacular displays against FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011™ third-place play-off winners Sweden and world champions Japan at the Volvo Winners Cup. rounds up the latest news from the world of women’s football.

Italy and Germany first to qualify
Italy sealed their participation at EURO 2013 last weekend thanks to a 9-0 thrashing of FYR Macedonia. Patrizia Panico hit three to ensure that the Italians can no longer be caught at the top of the Group 1 table with two matches still to go.

In Group 2 Germany emerged as the weekend’s biggest winners without even kicking a ball, after Switzerland defeated Spain 4-3. The Iberians were Germany’s closest competitors to top the group, but Silvia Neid’s side cannot now be overtaken. They boast a six point lead going into the final two rounds of matches, but a superior head-to-head record against Spain (a win and a draw) gives Germany the advantage. Their next EURO 2013 qualifying game is against Kazakhstan on 15 September.

Comfortable wins for Scotland and Norway
With six wins from as many games, France are at the Group 4 summit. But as the fourth best team at last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup had a fixture-free weekend, it gave their pursuers the chance to make up some ground. Scotland held on to second spot with a convincing 8-0 win over Israel to give them a four point lead over next  opponent Republic of Ireland, who lost 1-0 to Wales.

In Group 3 Norway hit top form to dispatch Bulgaria 11-0. Goals from Isabell Herlovsen (5), Maren Mjelde (2), Caroline Hansen, Mari Knudsen, Cecilie Pedersen and an own goal by Nikoleta Voyskova moved the Norwegians up to second place in the standings, a point behind new leaders Iceland, who beat Hungary 3-0.

Important victories for Austria and England
A narrow 1-0 win over the Netherlands has put England in pole position to qualify for EURO 2013 as Group 6 winners. While they currently trail the Dutch side by two points, wins from their remaining two matches (against Slovenia and Croatia) would guarantee them top spot, as the Netherlands play their final qualifying game against Serbia on Wednesday.

Austria moved a step closer to finalising their ticket to Sweden with a crucial 3-2 victory over Czech Republic. Sarah Puntigam, Nadine Prohaska and Nina Burger fired coach Dominik Thalhammer’s side to first place in Group 7 ahead of Denmark. However, the Scandinavians have played two games less and the teams must still face each other.

The seven group winners and the best ranked second-placed side qualify automatically for Sweden 2013. The remaining group runners-up go into a two-legged play-off, with the respective winners completing the twelve-team tournament.

USA in top form
Just a few weeks ahead of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in London, USA made a strong statement of intent at the Volvo Winners Cup in Sweden (16-20 June). The side, coached by Pia Sundhage, met Sweden and Japan at the round-robin competition and proved to be in irresistible form. They first defeated their hosts 3-1 before beating world champions Japan 4-1 just two days later.

You will find a comprehensive summary of the Volvo Winners Cup on on Thursday.