Sweden held their nerve in the battle for Europe's final FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ qualifying berth, joining Switzerland, Germany, England, Norway, Spain and France at next year’s showdown. FIFA.com rounds up the last round of group stage qualifiers.
Sweden book ticket to Canada
**While the winners of six of the seven European qualifying groups were already established going into the final round of matches, Group 4 went down to the wire. In the head-to-head tussle between Sweden and Scotland, the Scots needed to win by at least a two-goal margin with any scoreline but 2-0 in order to top the standings. However, coach Pia Sundhage’s Swedes went in front after just seven minutes through Therese Sjogran to dent Scotland’s hopes, which were ultimately dashed by Lotta Schelin’s second-half strike to make it 2-0.
**England’s spot at Canada 2015 was already guaranteed, but that did not stop them putting in a commanding display in a 10-0 victory over Montenegro, who finished bottom of the group with zero points to show for their efforts.
*Germany’s perfect ten
*Two-time Women's World Cup winners Germany ended their qualifying campaign with an impressive record of ten wins from as many games, netting 62 goals and only conceding four to finish as the continent’s top scorers during qualification. 7,028 spectators were in Heidenheim to witness coach Silvia Neid’s charges beat Republic of Ireland 2-0 thanks to efforts from Anja Mittag and Melanie Behringer. Finding the target crowned a special occasion for the latter, who became the 20th player to earn their 100th international cap for Germany’s women’s side. “You could see we enjoyed ourselves out there,” said the midfielder afterwards. “We really had Ireland under control and the only problem was that we didn’t score the goals earlier. But we won all ten of our games and we can be proud of that.”
France were likewise already assured of their place in Canada but initially struggled to find their rhythm against Finland. Coach Philippe Bergeroo’s side even went behind when Juliette Kempi struck, but fought back to win 3-1 with goals from Elise Bussaglia, Louisa Necib and Marie-Laure Delie.
*Play-off hopes for quartet
*The seven automatic qualifiers may have now been determined, but four more countries still have hopes of sealing the final European ticket to the Women's World Cup next year. Italy sent out a statement of intent in a 15-0 rout of FYR Macedonia, with Daniela Sabatino scoring six times.
Ukraine benefitted from Finland’s defeat by France and also managed to reach the play-offs thanks to a 1-0 victory over Wales, a result that spelled the end of the line for Denmark and Austria. Russia overcame Croatia with a 3-1 triumph but missed out on the play-offs as their goal difference was inferior to Ukraine’s.
The Netherlands kept their chances alive with a 2-0 win over Norway, while all is not yet lost for Scotland either, despite their defeat to Sweden.
The play-offs to decide the eighth UEFA participant at Canada 2015 will be held between 25 October and 27 November.
The play-off draw will take place on Tuesday 23 September at 14:00 in Nyon, Switzerland.