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Scotland qualify for Finals
 Women's Football News 7 Oct 2013
 
Scotland have qualified for the UEFA Women's Under-17 Finals in England this November after a 2-0 win over Finland in their final elite round match. 
 
Goals in either half from Erin Cuthbert and Alyshia Walker sealed the win, sending Scotland to the finals for the first time at this age group.
 
All four teams in Group Five were level on three points going in to today's final matches. Norway defeated Hungary 7-1 in the other match, but Pauline Hamill's side topped the group due to the head-to-head record between the two sides (Scotland defeated Norway 2-1 on Friday).
 
After a narrow 4-3 defeat to group hosts Hungary in the opening match, Scotland fought back with the decisive win over Norway, and knew that they had to win today, and rely on the result in the other game, to reach the finals.
 
Scotland had the first chance inside two minutes when Roosamari Hannukkala fouled Walker. Captain Georgie Rafferty stepped up to take the free kick, but Carla Jackson's effort was saved by Enna-Sofia Halonen.
 
Both sides had efforts, mainly from set pieces, throughout the half, before Scotland made the breakthrough with just over half an hour gone. Walker went on a driving run through the Finnish defence, and was brought down in the box by Emma Santamäki. Cuthbert stepped up to coolly finish from the penalty spot to give Scotland a precious lead going in to half time.
 
Walker, who scored the winner against Norway in the last game, got on the scoresheet once more in the 52nd minute. Dana Baird beat two players on the left wing and cut back the ball for Walker, who sent a left footed effort in to the net.
 
The eight-team final tournament will be played in England from 26 November to 8 December, and will provide Europe's three qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup in Costa Rica.
 
Spain join Scotland and hosts England at the finals after topping Group One. The other five places will be decided when the remaining elite round mini-tournaments are completed over the next two weeks.
 
Scotland coach Pauline Hamill told www.scottishfa.co.uk: "We are absolutely delighted for the players - they put so much in to the two qualifying rounds. We were the fourth ranked team in this elite round group, and to come through three very tough matches, particularly bouncing back after a narrow defeat in the opening match, says so much about this squad.
 
"It was another difficult match today. It was relatively even, but we created more clear cut chances, and generally performed very well, and we deserved the victory.
 
"We knew that we could win today and not make it through because the group was so tight. There were a few nerves in the dressing room beforehand, but we just had to remind the players to focus on our game plan, to work hard for each other - as they have in every match so far - and not worry about the other result.
 
"We knew that we were by no means favourites to qualify from this group, but we have a talented group of players here, who have worked exceptionally hard.
 
"With the finals being played so close to home, and hosted by our biggest rivals, it was a big incentive to make it through. You also have it in the back of your mind that the finals will act as a qualifying tournament for the World Cup in Costa Rica next year.
 
"But, we're not looking quite that far ahead at the moment. We will enjoy this achievement and then we'll turn our attention to preparing for the finals."
 
Scotland Under-17: Rebecca Flaherty, Courtney Whyte, Sarah Clelland, Georgie Rafferty, Abigail Harrison, Kirsty Howat (sub Dana Baird 33mins), Alyshia Walker, Carla Jackson (sub Chelsea Cornet 80mins), Hayley Sinclair, Erin Cuthbert, Chantelle Brown (sub Sarah Robertson 47mins). Subs not used: Laura Hamilton, Amy Anderson, Lia Tweedie, Carla Boyce.

 
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