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Women's Football

Jones driving Germany on, Portugal reach EUROs

(FIFA.com)
Anja Mittag of Germany (C) celebrates her team's third goal
© Getty Images

There was no action in the major European women's leagues this past weekend, with the focus instead on international friendlies and the battle for the final place at UEFA Women's EURO 2017. *FIFA.com *brings you up to date with the latest happenings…

*Germany remain unbeaten under Steffi Jones *Germany continued their 100 per cent record under new coach Steffi Jones. After the Olympic gold medallists had rounded off their Women's EURO 2017 qualifying campaign with two wins last month, October brought friendlies against Austria and EURO hosts Netherlands. Germany met Austria for the first time in 434 internationals, Jones's side winning 4-2 in Regensburg thanks to a brace from Anja Mittag and goals from Verena Faisst and Lena Petermann. Laura Feiersinger and Nina Burger got on the scoresheet for the Austrians.

"We gave everything against opponents with more individual class," Austria's coach Dominik Thalhammer said to his association's official website. "The team left their mark time and again and showed an incredible mentality to come back from 2-0 down. Of course Germany also showed where our limits are and that there are areas we still have to work on. You can lose against the Olympic and European champions, but I can't imagine it's very often that they concede two goals."

Three days later, though, it was the same result for Germany, who beat the Netherlands 4-2. A brace from Mandy Islacker and goals from Mittag and Tabea Kemme secured victory for the Mannschaft, with Sherida Spitse and Vivianne Miedema on target for next summer's EURO hosts. Five days prior, the Dutch had beaten Scotland 7-0.

Sweden also won the first of their two friendlies 7-0, comfortably overcoming Iran in Gothenburg in the visitors' first international match on European soil. The Olympic silver medallists found it tougher going against Norway, however, and were held to a 0-0 draw in Kristiansand.

*Portugal secure final EURO berth *The battle for the final place at next summer's EURO could hardly have been tenser, with Portugal eventually edging out Romania on away goals to qualify for a major women's tournament for the first time. The first of the two play-off games in Lisbon ended goalless, setting the stage for a dramatic second leg in Cluj-Napoca. After another stalemate over 90 minutes in Romania's second city, Andreia Norton put Portugal a goal up in extra time, only for Laura Rus to equalise for the hosts with nine minutes remaining. Portugal held firm in the face of late pressure and as a result will go into the hat for the draw for the finals in Rotterdam on 8 November.

One of the teams to avoid in the draw will be Belgium, who comfortably saw off Russia by 3-0 and 3-1 scorelines in two friendlies.

France, England and Spain were three further EURO participants in friendly action. France and England – third and fifth in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking respectively – played out a goalless draw in Doncaster. The Three Lionesses got back to winning ways four days later, though, by beating Spain 2-1 in Guadalajara. Marta Torrejon's own-goal and Steph Houghton's free-kick gave England an early two-goal lead, rendering Torrejon's goal for Spain mere consolation.

*World Champions firing on all cylinders *USA came out comfortable victors in two friendlies against Switzerland. The hosts won 4-0 in Sandy, Utah, thanks to debutant Lynn Williams's first goal in national colours, as well as further strikes from Tobin Heath, Christen Press and Samantha Mewis. Despite the clear margin of victory, all of the world champions' goals came in the second half against a side that will make its EURO debut next summer. Along with Williams, Abby Dahlkemper, Ashley Hatch, Casey Short and Andi Sullivan were included in the full USA squad for the first time.

In front of 20,000 fans in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Swiss took a shock lead thanks to Sandrine Mauron's opening goal in the second of the sides' friendlies. The visitors' advantage did not last, however, with a brace from Carli Lloyd and further goals from Press, Crystal Dunn and Kealia Ohai ensuring a 5-1 triumph.


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