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Mixed fortunes for home nations
 Women's Football Euros News - 4 Oct 2019
All of the home nations were in action as the UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship qualifying groups got underway this week.
Three of them - England, Scotland and Northern Ireland - were victorious but Wales suffered defeat in their all-British clash.
Jess Park scored four goals as England began their campaign with a resounding 8-0 win over Cyprus. The Manchester City striker opened the scoring after just two minutes, firing past Ioanna Georgiou from a tight angle.
She doubled the lead from the penalty spot just before the quarter hour mark and completed her hat-trick with just 25 minutes on the clock by evading the attentions of four defenders before beating Georgiou from close range.
Holly Manders struck the post directly from a corner just moments before scoring England's fourth. The Durham forward dispossessed Cyprus captain Elena Aristodimou in the centre of the park before strolling forward an unleashing a 25-yard drive which sailed over Georgiou.
Park notched her fourth, and England's fifth, on 62 minutes after being found by Simran Jhamat, who had a goal chalked off for offside in the first half.
Substitute Katie Bradley, on for Manders, then benefitted from a weak goal kick by Georgiou to lob home the sixth goal. Another substitute, Ebony Salmon - on for Anabel Blanchard - danced through the Cyprus defence to add a seventh in the final minute, with Lucy Roberts completing the scoring in added time.
Next up for the Young Lionesses is host nation Belarus on Saturday, followed by Serbia next Tuesday. Serbia were 4-1 winners in their meeting in the opening match.
Scotland meanwhile also made it a winning start in their qualifying group when they defeated Bulgaria 4-0 in Belchatow.
Pauline Hamill's side led at the interval through a goal from Brogan Moore, scored midway through the first half, and their lead was doubled by Rebecca McGowan within four minutes of the restart.
Hannah Scott further strengthened Scotland's position when she scored within three minutes of coming on as a substitute, and Aisha Maughan completed a good day for her side when she added the final goal.
Scotland are next in action on Saturday when they take on Croatia, who were beaten 2-0 by Poland in the other group game. They finish up against the Poles next Tuesday.
Wales made the shorter trip to Northern Ireland for their group matches and opened up against the host nation at Shamrock Park in Portadown. It was Northern Ireland who were to triumph 1-0, Jessica Rea converting a corner from Casey Howe for the only goal of the game with seventeen minutes remaining. To make matters worse for Lauren Smith's side, Josie Smith was red carded three minutes from time for a second bookable offence.
Wales face a tough task in their second group match on Saturday as they face group favourites Norway, again in Portadown. Norway won by an eight-goal margin against Moldova, who will be their final group opponents on Tuesday at Solitude (Belfast).
The top two sides in each of the 12 first qualifying round groups plus the four third-placed teams with the best record against the top two in their section will enter the elite round draw on Thursday 21st November.
The elite round is scheduled for next spring with the eight team finals taking place in Georgia next July.

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