Scotland Women secure World Cup play-off place after Ukraine beat Hungary

Scotland Women secure World Cup play-off place after Ukraine beat Hungary

Scotland Women secured a spot in the play-offs for Women’s World Cup qualification thanks to Ukraine’s 2-0 victory over Hungary.

Pedro Martinez Losa’s side will head to the Faroe Islands for their last qualifier in September knowing that they cannot be caught in second place and will take part in the play-offs the following month.

Ukraine, who are playing their games in Poland due to Russia’s invasion of their country, were made to feel at home by their supporters, many of whom are refugees, in the Polish city of Rzeszow located about 100km from the Ukrainian border.

Ukraine, whose own World Cup qualifying hopes were ended in a 4-0 loss to Scotland on Friday, took the lead in the 27th minute when defender Darya Kravets headed in from a corner, and substitute Olga Ovdiychuk doubled their advantage with an individual effort, sealing the result just before full-time.

Hungary are third in Group B on nine points, four behind second-placed Scotland with one game to play.

Spain, with 18 points, have already qualified for next year’s tournament as group winners.

How do the play-offs work?

In the play-offs, the three best qualifying group runners-up will be seeded directly to Round Two of the play-offs.

Scotland are likely to be one of the six remaining runners-up and will contest a single-leg play-off in Round One to make it to Round Two.

The three winners from Round One and the three teams seeded directly to Round Two will then compete in single-leg play-offs determined by a draw.

The two play-off winners with the highest ranking (based on results in the qualifying group stage and Round Two play-offs) will qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The remaining play-off winner will compete in the inter-confederation play-offs.

Wales continue preparations for crucial qualifiers with draw

Wales played out a goalless draw against New Zealand in their friendly in Spain.

Gemma Grainger’s side are continuing preparations ahead of the crucial final two World Cup qualifiers against Greece and Slovenia in September, where victories can guarantee a play-off place.

At 22nd, New Zealand are nine places higher than Wales in the FIFA world rankings and will be joint-hosts in 2023 along with Australia.

Wales, who have been away on a week’s training camp in south east Spain, created an early chance when an inch-perfect delivery from Chelsea midfielder Sophie Ingle found Natasha Harding on the right, but the former Reading forward saw her shot deflected just off target.

The Football Ferns threated late in the first half through a long-range shot from Elizabeth Anton before Meikayla Moore headed over from a corner.

In a game of few chances, which saw drinks breaks because of sweltering temperatures, New Zealand almost snatched a late victory when substitute Jacqui Hand’s header was pushed onto the crossbar by Wales goalkeeper Laura O’Sullivan.

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