European trio edge closer to Canada ticket
© AFP

Norway, France and the Netherlands all secured important wins on Wednesday to move a step closer to FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ qualification.

France maintained their perfect record after seven matches in easing past Hungary with four unanswered goals. Les Bleues had just one goal to show for their first half domination with a lone strike from Elodie Thomis, but second half efforts from Camille Abily, Gaetane Thiney and Amel Majri blew out the scoreline.

Group leaders France now sit on 21 points, six clear of Finland though the Nordic nation have two matches in hand.

Perhaps the most notable result of the evening was in Louvain as home side Belgium fell to a costly 2-0 defeat against neighbours Netherlands.

Early goals from prolific young striker Vivianne Miedema and Renee Slegers were enough for the Oranje Leeuwinnen to retain their hold on top spot in Group 5, leaving their opponents’ qualification hopes hanging by a thread.

Norway maintained their hold on second in the same group with a tough 2-0 home win over Portugal. However, the home side were stretched all the way by the visitors and needed goals from Elise Thorsnes and Isabell Herlovsen at either end of the second half for a hard-fought victory.

Elsewhere Republic of Ireland, having narrowly failed to earn a draw against European champions Germany recently, crashed to a damaging 3-1 home loss against Russia. The result pushed Russia five points clear of the Irish, though still far behind runaway leaders Germany.

The remainder of the matchday will be completed later on Thursday, with further matches next month.

The seven European group winners will qualify for Canada 2015, while the four runners-up with the best record against the sides first, third, fourth and fifth in their respective groups enter into the play-offs.