Big victories as groups take shape
The latest qualifying matches for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ took place across Europe this week with an exciting blend of closely fought duels and clear victories. FIFA.com takes a look back at the round of qualifiers.
Germany hungry for goals whilst Switzerland dominate Two-time world champions Germany continued their fine run of form and remain on course to qualify for Canada. In Group 1, FIFA Women’s Football Coach of the Year nominee Silvia Neid watched her team overpower Slovenia to win 13-0. The European champions were victorious once more in their next game against Croatia, even if the 4-0 scoreline was not quite as impressive.
Meanwhile Switzerland, led by former German international Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, picked up all three points for the third match in succession, defeating Denmark 1-0. The Eidgenossinnen now have a six-point advantage at the top of Group 3.
England pulling away After underperforming at the UEFA Women’s European Championship 2013 in Sweden, England have hit their stride in World Cup qualification. In their four matches completed to date, the Three Lionesses have yet to drop a point or even concede a goal. Manager Brent Hills’ team now have 12 points and hold a commanding lead in Group 6. “We’ve played four games now and we’ve got four clean sheets, so we’re happy with that and it’s something we can build on,” Hills said on The FAs website, whilst Alex Scott added: “We’re always happy when we keep clean sheets – but it’s been great for us with the amount of goals we’ve scored in these four games. We go into the new year with maximum points and sitting top of the table – which is happy days for us.”
Norway and Belgium in step Meanwhile, in Group 5, an enthralling tussle for top spot is now underway. European Championship finalists Norway followed up their opening win against Belgium with two further victories, whilst Belgium delivered two excellent performances against Portugal and Greece. With nine points apiece, both teams look strong, but Norway still have a game in hand over Belgium at this point.
In Group 4, Scotland and Sweden are also locked in a head-to-head battle, although Scotland have their noses in front after four wins, most recently against Northern Ireland and Poland. Pia Sundhage’s Sweden are second in the group after three matches and will be under intense pressure in their next game on 5 April 2014. The two sides will not face each other until 14 June 2014, and until then, the tension in the group will continue to mount.
Group 1 Croatia 0-1 Slovakia Slovenia 0-13 Germany Slovenia 0-3 Republic Ierland Germany 4-0 Croatia Slovakia 0-2 Russia
Group 2 FYR Macedonia 1-3 Czech Republic Spain 6-0 Estonia FYR Macedonia 0-2 Estonia Romania 0-0 Czech Republic Spain 2-0 Italy
Group 3 Serbia 1-1 Denmark Israel 2-0 Malta Serbia 1-2 Iceland Denmark 0-1 Switzerland
Group 4 Bosnia and Herzegovina 0-1 Sweden Scotland 2-0 Northern Ireland Northern Ireland 0-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina Poland 0-4 Scotland Sweden 5-0 Faroe Islands
Group 5 Greece 1-7 Belgium Norway 7-0 Albania Portugal 0-7 Netherlands Albania 1-0 Greece Netherlands 1-2 Norway Belgium 4-1 Portugal
Group 6 Belarus 3-1 Montenegro England 2-0 Wales Montenegro 1-4 Ukraine Turkey 0-4 England
Group 7 Bulgaria 1-1 Kazakhstan Hungary 0-3 Austria Hungary 4-0 Bulgaria Finland 1-0 Kazakhstan Austria 1-3 France