Three teams, Norway, France and the Netherlands all took big steps towards qualification for the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada with wins yesterday.
France walked over Hungary 4-0 and their record perfect through seven games. The French had just one goal, from Elodie Thomis to show for their first half domination but eased to the win with second half efforts from Camille Abily, Gaetane Thiney and Amel Majri.
Group leaders France have 21 points, six clear of Finland though the Finnish do have have two games in hand.
The Dutch meanwhile beat neighbours Belgium 2-0 with early goals from Vivianne Miedema and Renee Slegers building on their lead in Group 5 and leaving the Belgians with slim hopes of moving on.
Norway maintained their hold on second in the same group with a tough 2-0 home win over Portugal. However, the home side were stretched all the way by the visitors and needed goals from Elise Thorsnes and Isabell Herlovsen at either end of the second half for a hard-fought win
Elsewhere Republic Of Ireland, having narrowly failed to earn a draw against European champions Germany recently, crashed to a damaging 3-1 home loss against Russia. The result pushed Russia five points clear of the Irish, though still far behind runaway leaders Germany.
The remainder of the matchday will be completed later on Thursday, with further matches next month.
The seven European group winners will qualify for Canada 2015, while the four runners-up with the best record against the sides first, third, fourth and fifth in their respective groups enter into the play-offs.