England Under-19s qualified for this summer's UEFA European Championship Finals
England 1-0 Denmark
England Under-19s qualified for this summer's UEFA European Championship Finals as a best runner-up after finishing second in their Second Qualifying Group, played in Bedfordshire this week.
A 1-0 victory for England over Denmark meant the hosts finished second in their Group behind Spain - outright winners and automatic qualifiers on goal difference.
Seven qualifying spots were on offer for July's European Championships, with Germany having already qualified as hosts. The four Group winners automatically earned a place in the Finals, while England - with seven points - were one of three best-ranked runners-up to make up the eight-nation final tournament.
England had gone into their final qualifying game unbeaten, after a 3-0 win against Republic of Ireland and a 1-1 draw with Spain. Denmark, however, had shown little of their form of the previous season - when England had lost to them twice - and had lost their opening two games. Out of the reckoning for a Finals place, Denmark were just playing for pride.
"We went into this game knowing we had to win to qualify and there were a lot of nerves at the end coming up to the final whistle," admitted team captain Kelly McDougall. "This was our seventh game together as a team and we haven't lost, so we were proud to keep up that record today.
"We have had a lot of new players come in and we play better the longer we go on. I've been made up to be captain and I've actually enjoyed the responsibility of looking after the new girls in this tournament. We did well in the tournament last year by getting to the semi-finals, but I know that this year we can go even further."
Against Denmark on Saturday afternoon, England found it tough to play their usual passing game on a bumpy, barren surface at Barton Rovers FC and a strong wind made for a scrappy affair. Goalkeeper Rachelle Houldsworth was called upon to make a fine save, but England had much of the early play.
The only goal of the game came on 38 minutes, when Arsenal winger Alex Scott got a foot on the end of a Kelly McDougall free-kick from outside of the box to score.
England had two good chances immediately after to extend their lead and Scott was particularly guilty of shooting wide mid-air after a cross from the lively Eniola Aluko.
In the second half, England were put on the back foot and Denmark pushed for an equaliser, making the most of having the wind behind them. But England, who have only conceded two goals in five qualifying games prior to Saturday, never looked like they were going to give the game away.
England soon regained control and their best chance of the second half was wasted by McDougall who volleyed over the bar from close range, after Aluko had one again carved an opportunity out of nothing.
With just minutes remaining on the clock, the referee sent off substitute Emma Thomas for a second bookable offence of raising her foot too high in a tackle. Minutes earlier she had received her first booking for continuing play after a foul had been called - despite the player protesting she had not heard the whistle in the windy conditions.
With Spain winning their game against the Republic of Ireland 3-1, both the Spanish and English teams finished on seven points although Spain had a superior goal difference.
England: Rachelle Houldsworth, Faye Cardin, Jo Traynor, Beth Bailey, Shelly Cox (sub 78 mins Michelle Hickmott), Alex Scott, Kelly McDougall (c), Anita Asante, Jo Potter, Katy Ward (sub 58 mins Emma Thomas), Eniola Aluko. Subs not used: Catherine Beaver, Sheuneen Ta, Lisa Burrows, Darel Poole, Laura Frogatt.
Denmark: Susanne Graversen, Solveu Krommenhoek, Camilla Andersen Sand, Pil Pedersen, Louise Paulsen (sub 86 mins Pernille Norgensen), Mariann Knudsen, Eva Vester, Stine Pedersen Aagard, Karen Haastrup, Kristine Pedersen (sub 67 mins Sandra Jensen), Marie Herpine Stentoft. Subs not used: Stina Petersen Lykke, Maria Juul Jensen, Helene Greusen, Maria Hansen.