Things could hardly be more exciting at the battle for qualifying berths for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ across Europe, with two spots taken and six still up for grabs.
Even though there is one round to go before the end of the qualifying campaign, Italy and Spain are the primary two European groups already through. The rest of the states will battle it out in the deciding games, to be performed between 30 August and 4 September, with a play-off tournament to follow.
Group 2: Switzerland (18), Scotland (15), Poland (7), Albania (4), Belarus (3)
Group 3: Netherlands (19), Norway (15), Republic of Ireland (10), Northern Ireland (3), Slovakia (0)
Group 4: Denmark, Sweden (both on 15), Ukraine (10), Hungary (4), Croatia (2)
Group 5: Iceland (16), Germany (15), Czech Republic (10), Slovenia (6), Faroe Islands (0)
Group 6: Italy (21), Belgium (13), Portugal, Romania (equally on 5), Moldova (1)
Group 7: Spain (18), Austria (13), Finland (10), Serbia (7), Israel (1)
Group 1: Welsh fantasy still alive
The simple way of describing this group is that Wales still refuse to bow under stress. With wins in both games over Bosnia and Herzegovina and Russia, the Welsh leapfrogged England (who won 3-0 against Russia) and continue to hold out hope of pulling off they’re first ever Women’s World Cup qualification. The Three Lionesses still have the upper hand, however, because they have two matches left to play, among which is against the Welsh on 31 August. Three points there would visit England house and dry.
Group 2: Second World Cup qualification within touching distance for your Swiss
Top place in the group will be decided on 31 August if they take on Scotland, who won 3-2 against Poland courtesy of three goals in the last quarter of an hour. A draw will be enough for the Swiss girls to procure their World Cup berth since they won their last group match against the second-placed Scots 1-0.
Group 3: Vital factors up for grabs for Norway
As is the situation in Groups 1 and 2, the top place will not be determined until the final round of games. Norway maintained their hopes of immediate qualification for France 2019 with a tight 1-0 triumph over the Republic of Ireland. Four points currently separate Norway from European champions the Netherlands, whom they confront on 4 September. Before then, the Norwegians will perform their game in hand against Slovakia, and a triumph would reduce the gap behind the Dutch to only one point.
Group 4: Bitter defeat for Sweden
Sweden dropped three completely crucial points in their pursuit of direct identification. While their acquaintances Denmark cruised past Hungary 5-1, the Damlandslaget went down 1-0 to Ukraine, undoing all their previous hard work from the group stages. Sweden and Denmark each have 15 points, and what’s pointing to their 4 September showdown to repay the group honors.
Group 5: All or nothing
The prior defeated Slovenia 2-0, taking them above the two-time World Cup winners at the table with a stage to spare. The teams will square off 1 September to find out who finishes top of the group and participates straight for France 2019. The Germans nevertheless managed to find some much-needed confidence before the vital clash with a 3-2 win over Canada in a friendly. “We experienced against Canada what we could expect in Iceland — the same kind of creation, the same mentality, a big crowd cheering on their team,” said trainer Horst Hrubesch following the friendly. “It was a good test for us in that respect, and today I can tell the women that that is the norm — that is exactly what it’ll be like in Iceland. Of course it is always good to finish the season with a win, and today’s match showed that we are on the ideal path.”
Group 6: Italy back to the big stage
Italy can start reserving their trip over the border to France after trainer Milena Bertolini’s women enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win against Portugal in Florence, shooting them back on the world stage for the first time since 1999. The Italians took the lead in the 13th minute because of a target from Cecilia Salvai before Cristiana Girelli doubled their advantage as well as Barbara Bonansea set the icing on the cake. Le Azzurre can now play out their final group game on 4 September in Belgium with the strain completely off.
With a win over Israel that coincided with Finland’s loss against Austria, it meant that top spot in Group 7 has been ensured for Spain. Goals from Maria Paz and Alexia Putellas saw La Roja book their next successive Women’s World Cup berth, while Austria listed another success, this one a 6-0 canter against Israel, to solidify second spot. Nina Burger made history in this match, winning her 104th cap and overtaking Austria’s previous record-holder for global looks, Andreas Herzog, in the process.