#WU17EURO : Irish and Welsh reach Elite Round

Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Wales all made it through to the UEFA Women’s U-17s Elite Round, after the completion of qualifiers on Sunday 28 October.

Northern Ireland and Wales took two of the four berths for the best third-placed teams, while Republic of Ireland qualified automatically when finishing goal-difference ahead of the Welsh.

That was very much down to a 14-0 thrashing of Albania in their opening group game, as Emily Whelan hit a hat-trick and Emily Kraft scored four times.

Northern Ireland completed their mini-tournament earlier in the month, so had a while to wait to see if they had done enough.

Wales began with a 4-0 loss to Serbia last Monday, which they followed up with a goalless draw against Republic of Ireland.

They had a clearer idea of what was needed to progress against Albania on Sunday, being one of the very last qualifying round games, with second half goals from Josie Longhurst and Zoe Collyer sufficient to send them through.

Manager Jayne Ludlow told faw.cymru: “I’m really pleased, it’s fantastic for the whole group of players and staff. They focused through the whole tournament and competed to the best of their ability. Playing in the Elite Round will be great for their development.”

The draw for the Elite Round will take place on Friday 23 November at the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland with the matches taking place in Bulgaria next May.

Also in the hat will be: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany (bye), Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (holders, bye), Sweden, Switzerland.