Women's Football

Netherlands and Norway edge closer to EURO qualification

Maria Thorisdottir of Norway celebrates Guro Reiten's goal
© imago images
  • Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy & Switzerland confirmed top-two spots
  • Netherlands and Norway need a win in October to guarantee qualifying
  • Le Sommer makes history, Marozsan joins the 100 club

Qualifying for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 in England is beginning to take shape. After the latest round of results, reigning champions the Netherlands need a win in their match at home to Estonia on 23 October to secure their spot at the tournament next year, while Norway will also be able to stamp their ticket if they pick up three points against Belarus (21 October).

How the groups currently stand

The Netherlands are the dominant force in Group A, with seven wins in as many matches. The most recent – a 1-0 success against Russia – means that the defending champions are now within touching distance of qualifying, sitting as they do nine points clear of second-placed Slovenia.

Group B is a lot tighter, with Denmark and Italy running neck-and-neck in the fight for first place. After Denmark’s 8-0 thrashing of Malta and Italy’s equally comfortable 5-0 win in Bosnia and Herzegovina, those teams have secured the top two spots in the table.

Everything currently seems to be going to plan for two-time EURO-winners Norway. They strengthened their position at the top of Group C after squeezing past Wales 1-0. A win for the Gresshoppene against Belarus will see them safely through.

The same cannot be said for Poland, however, who managed just one point from their home-and-away clashes with Czech Republic. After a goalless draw in the first match, the Poles went down 2-0 in the second, relegating Milosz Stepinski’s squad to third place. The Spanish are currently in the box seat after seeing off Moldova 9-0. That puts La Roja level with the Czechs with a game in hand.

Sweden and Iceland dropped their first points in the recent round of matches. The two teams had each made a perfect start with wins in their opening four matches, but something had to give when they faced off against one another. The game ended in a 1-1 draw, with the hotly-anticipated return match coming on 27 October. Hungary pulled to within six points of those two with a 4-0 win over Latvia.

History was made in Group G as Eugenie Le Sommer became France’s all-time leading scorer, overtaking Marinette Pichon’s record of 81 goals. Le Sommer scored twice in the opening minutes of what was to end up a 7-0 win over North Macedonia for Les Bleues, who had already defeated Serbia 2-0 in the run-up to that match. Despite those results, it is Austria who sit atop the group after their 5-0 win over Kazakhstan under new coach Irene Fuhrmann.

Group H sees a tense battle for EURO qualification between Switzerland and Belgium. Nils Nielsen’s Swiss team recorded a disappointing 1-1 result against Croatia but picked themselves up to defeat the Red Flames at home in the Thun Arena 2-1, stealing top spot off the Belgians who had previously not dropped a point throughout their campaign.

There will be a final showdown for qualifying when Belgium host Switzerland in the reverse fixture, unless the Swiss manage an away win in Romania on 26 October and the Belgians lose in Lithuania, in which case the Nati will already have secured top spot.

Germany saw off the previously undefeated Republic of Ireland 3-0 and followed that up with an identical result away to Montenegro. They now sit five points clear with two matches remaining, which would enable them to secure qualifying in their penultimate match against Greece if Vera Pauw’s Irish team do not pick up all three points away to Ukraine on 22 October. Dzenifer Marozsan, meanwhile, reached a notable landmark by collecting cap number 100 in the second of those 3-0 wins.

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