Women's World Cup qualifying play-offs begin in Europe
Netherlands claim first-leg advantage after home win over Denmark
Switzerland come back twice to draw in Belgium
It was a mixed Friday evening of first-leg results in the European zone qualifying play-off semi-finals for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, with the Netherlands earning a valuable home win, while nothing could separate Belgium and Switzerland.
A pair of first-half goals from Lineth Beerensteyn and Shanice van de Sanden gave the Netherlands a 2-0 victory over Denmark at the Rat Verlegh Stadion in Breda.
The Dutch, who defeated the Danes to win last year’s European title on home soil, will fancy their chances of securing their spot in the qualifying play-off final with a second-leg result in Viborg on Tuesday.
The other first leg ended in stalemate at the Den Dreef Stadium in Leuven, as Belgium were held to a 2-2 draw by Switzerland.
Janice Cayman gave the Belgians an early lead that the Red Flames held at the break. However, the Swiss pulled level on 55 minutes through the first of two goals from Alisha Lehmann.
Though Laura Deneve restored the home side’s advantage on the hour mark, Lehmann struck again three minutes from the end to give Switzerland two valuable away goals ahead of Tuesday’s decisive second leg in Biel.
The winners of both semi-finals will meet in next month’s play-off final for the last European qualifying spot at France 2019.