#FIFAWWC Qualifying Round-Up: Italy & Spain win again

Italy celebrate victory over Belgium. (Photo: @azzurri)

In Tuesday’s FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers, Italy, Netherlands and Spain all won top of the table clashes to extend their leads, while England took over the Group 1 leadership.

England won 2-0 in Bosnia and Herzegovina to replace Wales at the top of Group 1. Both sides were down to ten players with Alex Greenwood and then Amira Spahić receiving second cautions but Toni Duggan gave the Lionesses the lead and substitute Jodie Taylor sealed the win with a stoppage-time penalty.

Scotland beat Poland 3-0 after Ewa Pajor missed a spot-kick and Paulina Dudek was sent off, Zoe Ness and Erin Cuthbert coming off the bench to score, Clare Emslie netting in-between. Also in Group 2, Lucie Gjini’s effort 2 minutes from time saw Albania claim a first win, 1-0 over Belarus.

There was a double Irish home defeat in Group 3, as Republic of Ireland lost 2-0 to the Netherlands and Northern Ireland suffered a 3-0 reverse at the hands of Norway. Lineth Beerensteyn put the Dutch ahead and Sherida Spitse completed the scoring from the spot with only 23 minutes played, as the Netherlands went three points clear in first place. Northern Ireland held out until the last half-hour, when Caroline Graham Hansen bagged a brace and Isabell Herlovsen scored in injury time.

Germany held their Group 5 leadership with a dominant 4-0 defeat of Slovenia, creating 31 attempts on goal to their hosts’ single chance. Lina Magull opened the scoring on 10 minutes and Lana Golob conceded an own-goal just before the break. Aleandra Popp and Linda Dallmann both scored in an eight-minute spell around the hour mark, with Dzsenifer Marozsán missing a last-minute penalty.

Iceland stayed within two points of the Germans and with a game in hand, following their 5-0 victory in the Faroe Islands. Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir ‘s 37th-minute effort was all that separated the sides at half-time but 3 minutes after the resumption, Rakel Hönnudóttir doubled the lead. Harpa Thorsteinsdóttir added the third, with late goals following from substitute Agla Maria Albertsdottir and Fanndis Fridriksdóttir.

Italy won the top of the table clash in Group 6, a 2-1 scoreline against Belgium being their sixth straight win which put them eight points clear. Although the Red Flames, who have a game in hand, went ahead with a Janice Cayman penalty, the Azzurri soon levelled through Martina Rosucci and watched by a 7,500 crowd, Cristiana Girelli grabbed the winner with 10 minutes left. The other game in Group 6 saw Romania well on top against Moldova, however the hosts picked up a first point when the match ended goalless.

Spain went eight points clear in Group 7 after a fifth straight win, albeit a narrow one in Austria, where Jennifer Hermoso netted just before the hour mark to defeat the second-placed team. Serbia scraped a 1-0 victory at a winless Israel, Milica Stanković the scorer midway through the second half.

The next batch of World Cup qualifiers take place from 7th to 12th June 2018.