Northern Ireland make history, nervy Switzerland qualify

ast three places secured for 2022 UEFA Women’s EURO
Russia, Northern Ireland and Switzerland qualify for next year’s tournament
First time that Northern Ireland have qualified

The line-up is complete, with Russia, Northern Ireland and Switzerland the final qualifiers for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 in England. A goalless draw was enough for the Russians to secure their sixth appearance at the tournament, while the Swiss needed penalties to make it through. Northern Ireland, meanwhile, are celebrating an historic first qualification for a EURO.

Czech Republic – Switzerland 2-2 on aggregate (2-3 pens)

This play-off tie was as dramatic as they come. In the first leg, Switzerland equalised in the 90th minute, grabbing a crucial away goal into the bargain to make it 1-1 after Katerina Svitkova had given Czech Republic the lead from the spot following a foul by Julia Stierli. Switzerland’s goal also came from a penalty, with Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic tucking it away.

The return leg was just as exciting. Katerina Svitkova (51’) gave the Czechs the lead with an incredible strike, before Coumba Sow (59’) equalised a few minutes later. That was the end of the scoring in regulation and extra time, so the play-off went to penalties, with Nils Nielsen’s side squeezing home 3-2.

Ukraine – Northern Ireland 1-4 on aggregate

Everything was set up for Northern Ireland to make history, and they certainly did! They won the away leg in Ukraine 2-1, Rachel Furness giving them the lead in the fifth minute before Daryna Apanaschenko equalised prior the break. In the second half, Simone Magill’s goal laid the basis for Northern Ireland’s first ever EURO qualification, and that dream became a reality in the second leg in Belfast, with goals from Marissa Callaghan (55’) and Nadene Caldwell (90’+6) sealing the deal 4-1 on aggregate. For Northern Ireland, the time for #ANewDream has come.

Portugal – Russia 0-1 on aggregate

Russia edged the first leg thanks to a Nelli Korovkina goal which saw them bring a 1-0 lead back home from Portugal. In the first half, the hosts dominated possession but the crucial goal simply would not come, and the luck was very much with the away team. A shot from Marina Federova thudded off the bar, and it was Korovkina who reacted the quickest to give her side the win in Lisbon, setting the stage for Russia to secure their sixth EURO qualification.

The scoreline after the first leg would end up being the aggregate result, and that one goal was enough for Yuri Krasnozhan’s side as they eked out a goalless draw at home in the Sapsan Arena. The Russians had their goalkeeper Elvira Todua to thank, particularly in the 70th minute, when she pulled off an incredible save from Dolores Silva.


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