England U19 women qualify for European Championship

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England’s U19 women progressed to the European Championships after the final seconds of the qualifying match were replayed in Belfast.

In the dying embers of their game against Norway they were trailing 2-1 when they were awarded a penalty.

With a draw needed, Leah Williamson knew she had to score or they would fail to make it to Israel in the summer.

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Williamson confidently stepped up and stuck away the penalty, but the referee disallowed the goal for encroachment. Football law states that in such an incident, the penalty should be retaken but, instead, the referee gave a free-kick to Norway.

Upon appeal, UEFA agreed that the game should be restarted from the penalty spot with all the same players on the pitch. The referee was suspended.

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Five days later the last few minutes were replayed with Williamson placing the ball back on the penalty spot.

With even more pressure on the 18-year-old's shoulders she showed no signs of cracking as just like in the first game she converted the spot kick.

The penalty

The 2-2 draw resulted in England qualifying on goal difference as they beat the Swiss 3-1 just hours before the replay.

Following the penalty there was just enough time for Norway to kick off before the stand in referee blew the full time whistle after Kurtes was sent home for her error.


Mark Sampson, the head coach of the senior women’s team, credited Williamson for having the courage to take the penalty for a second time.

He told reporters: "To take that penalty and the fact she has scored it speaks volumes for the character in the team and the personality she has."

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