France avoid shock to qualify for quarter-finals


With Austria beating Iceland 3-0 to top Group C, runners-up France will face the winners of Group D – likely to be England – in the last eight on Sunday.

After France full-back Eve Perisset was sent off, Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic’s fine header put Switzerland ahead early on.

But Camille Abily’s late free-kick saved France from a shock elimination.

England eye win to set up France meeting For France – ranked third in the Fifa rankings and one of the pre-tournament favourites alongside six-time winners Germany and in-form England – defeat in Breda would have ended their hopes of a first major tournament title.

Group winners Austria are making their tournament debut and are the lowest-ranked side in the group at 24th in the world.

Goals from Sarah Zadrazil, captain Nina Burger and substitute Stefanie Enzinger earned them a comfortable victory in Rotterdam over Iceland, who had already been eliminated.

France set for likely England tie

Switzerland knew they had to beat France to go through and a surprise win looked possible as they found themselves ahead against 10 players after 19 minutes.

Paris St-Germain’s Perisset, as the last defender, was shown a red card for bringing down Chelsea Ladies forward Ramona Bachmann.

From the resulting free-kick, Crnogorcevic’s powerful header from Martina Moser’s well-placed delivery gave Switzerland the lead.

However, with 14 minutes remaining, Abily’s free-kick was misjudged by Switzerland keeper Gaelle Thalmann, who had made several fine saves, as a relived France reached their third consecutive European Championship quarter-final.

England need only a point from their final group game against Portugal on Thursday to qualify as Group D winners and secure a quarter-final meeting with France in Deventer on Sunday.

France will be without captain and centre-back Wendie Renard after she received a second booking of the tournament.

England have not beaten France since 1974.

Austria await the runners-up in Group D. Scotland, currently bottom of the table, could qualify second but need to beat Spain by at least two goals and hope Portugal lose to England.



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