Monday 20 November 2017, 08:02

Women's World Cup race resumes in Europe

  • Repeat of EURO 2017 quarter-final between Austria and Spain looms

  • European champions Netherlands looking to continue fine form

  • England aiming to end a tough year in style

While all 32 berths at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ have now been filled, qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ has only recently begun. takes a look at some of the early movers in Europe and some upcoming fixtures to look forward to.

Iceland caused a particular stir with their 3-2 victory against Germany in October. The reigning Olympic champions had previously not suffered a defeat in qualifying, either for a European Championship or for a Women’s World Cup, since going down 3-2 to Norway way back on 17 June 1998. Not only that, they had also won each of their previous 14 matches against Iceland.

UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 winners the Netherlands continue to ride the crest of their current wave of success. The Oranje Leeuwinnen began qualification with a 1-0 victory against Norway, the side they faced in the opening game of EURO 2017.

Group situation Group 1: Wales (4 points), Bosnia and Herzegovina, England (3), Russia (1), Kazakhstan (0) Group 2: Scotland, Switzerland (6), Belarus, Poland (3), Albania (0) Group 3: Norway, Republic of Ireland (6), Netherlands (3), Northern Ireland, Slovakia (0) Group 4: Denmark, Sweden (6), Croatia (2), Hungary, Ukraine (1) Group 5: Germany (9), Czech Republic, Iceland (7) Faroe Islands, Slovenia (0) Group 6: Belgium, Italy (9), Moldova, Romania, Portugal (0) Group 7: Austria, Finland, Serbia, Spain (3), Israel (0)

Top matches *England-Bosnia-Herzegovina, 24 November, 20.05 local time *England's interim coach Mo Marley called up two newcomers - Keira Walsh and Leah Williamson - to the national team set-up for the Lionesses’ upcoming qualifiers. “These two matches are massively important in our bid to qualify,” said Marley. “We’ll be aiming to try and get two good results to end 2017 on a high.” The FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking, in which England currently occupy third place, suggests her side are clear favourites against opposition ranked down in 61st spot, but an upset is also not entirely out of the question.

The Netherlands–Republic of Ireland, 28 November 2017, 20.00 local time After victory on Matchday 1, the side led by The Best FIFA Women’s Coach Sarina Wiegman go in search of three more points against Republic of Ireland as they bid to stay in touch with Group 3’s top two. However, the Republic have beaten both Northern Ireland and Slovakia by a 2-0 scoreline and will have every confidence of a positive result against the Dutch. “It’s been a great start to qualifying. Now we’re looking ahead to the game against the Netherlands and we’ll take the confidence we’ve gained into the match,” said Ireland coach Colin Bell after the win against Slovakia. “It will be another difficult game but we’ll try to once again develop the right strategy.”

Spain-Austria, 28 November 2017, 20.15 local time In Group 7, three teams began the campaign with a win: Finland (1-0 against Serbia), Spain (6-0 against Israel) and Austria (4-0 against Serbia). The Iberians will now be looking to exact revenge on Austria after losing to them on penalties in the last eight of EURO 2017.