European qualifying for the 2015 Women’s World Cup is underway, and Saturday’s action featured a host of favorites in action.
England opened Group 6 play with an easy 6-0 win over Belarus, led by a Karen Carney hat trick in the first half. The Three Lionesses are currently under the direction of interim coach Brent Hills, who was an assistant under the departed Hope Powell.
With the seven group winners earning automatic qualification to Canada 2015 and the four best second place finishers advancing to a playoff, Russia will have to hope for second in Group 1 after a 9-0 whooping at the hands of favorites Germany. There is little doubt that Germany will win this group, but the lopsided loss for Russia is an eye-opener.
Sweden’s victory, however, was narrow — a 2-0 win over Poland to open Group 4. The Swedes relied on second half goals from Lotta Schelin and captain Caroline Seger.
Group 1: Germany, Russia, Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia
Group 2: Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Romania, Estonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Group 3: Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Serbia, Israel, Malta
Group 4: Sweden, Scotland, Poland, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands
Group 5: Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Albania
Group 6: England, Ukraine, Belarus, Wales, Turkey, Montenegro
Group 7: France, Finland, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan
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