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Spain................2 (Boquette 9, Bermudez 42)
England............2 (Carney 55, K.Smith 77)
at Ruta de la Plata, Zamora
England booked their place in the 2009 UEFA Championships in Finland next summer but had to do it the hard way, going 2-0 down in a disastrous first half before staging a second half comeback, inspired by an outstanding display by the tireless Karen Carney, to pick up the result they needed.
Hope Powell made one change to the starting line up with Eniola Aluko replacing Lianne Sanderson up front while Emily Westwood remained on the bench.
However England looked nervous in the opening stages and fell behind in the ninth minute as Laura Del Rio got past Alex Scott and crossed to the far post where Veronica Boquette escaped the attentions of Jill Scott and headed in.
England were unlucky not to be on level terms minutes later as Fara Williams crashed a 30-yard free kick against the post but there was a huge scare at the other end as a miscued header from Lindsay Johnson released Adriana Martin on goal but Rachel Brown rescued her side with a vital save.
Karen Carney headed over a Rachel Yankey cross from in front of goal and Jill Scott miscued a glorious chance from ten yards out, and these misses looked to be crucial as Spain increased their lead three minutes before the interval. Jill Scott was adjudged to have made a backpass to Brown who picked the ball up and a free kick was awarded, Del Rio touched the ball aside for Sonia Bermudez to blast the ball home via the post. Now England were trailing by two goals, meaning that Spain were now in pole position for the automatic qualification place.
As on Sunday when trailing to the Czech Republic, England made a half time switch with Westwood coming on for Aluko and Kelly Smith moving up front and again, they looked more comfortable with their taliswoman leading the line.
However there was another huge scare as Martin raced clear on goal, Johnson tried to catch her but she planted her shot past Brown but, thankfully for England, also beyond the far post.
England needed a piece of inspiration for the goal they needed to get back in the game and it came ten minutes after the restart. Casey Stoney played the ball into the area for Westwood who chested the ball down into the path for Carney to drive home a low shot past Tirapu. Now the pressure was on Spain who needed nothing less than a two-goal victory if they were to deny England qualification.
Spain tried putting extra players up front and the talented Del Rio was a constant threat but England were looking more composed at the back, with Johnson performing well alongside Anita Asante. Martin put a shot wide under pressure from Asante from a dangerous ball into the area.
The killer goal came in the 77th minute and all lingering doubts were removed. Unsurprisingly, Carney was again at the hub of things, sliding a neat pass into the area and into the path of Kelly Smith. For a moment, the England striker appeared to have taken too long as she evaded one defender but she coolly worked the ball onto her left foot and planted her shot past Tirapu and in off the far post.
The last ten minutes were little more than a formality and it just needed England to keep their concentration and close the game out. Spain did not give up but there were no more scares and celebrations could finally begin once the final whistle was blown.
England: Rachel Brown, Alex Scott, Casey Stoney, Jill Scott, Lindsay Johnson, Anita Asante, Karen Carney, Fara Williams, Eniola Aluko (sub Emily Westwood 45mins), Kelly Smith, Rachel Yankey (sub Sue Smith 82mins). Subs not used: Lianne Sanderson, Siobhan Chamberlain, Rachel Unitt, Laura Bassett, Faye White.
Spain: Ainhoa Tirapu, Silvia Meseguer (sub Ma Jose Perez 87mins), Sonia Vesga, Melisa Nicolau, Marta Torrejon, Erika Vazquez (sub Ana Romero 58mins), Adriana Martin, Laura Del Rio, Veronica Boquette, Vanesa Gimber, Sonia Bermudez (sub Sandra Vilanova 71mins). Subs not used: Ma Jose Pons, Alexandra Lopez, Ruth Garcia, Ma Paz Vilas.
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