France beat England, Spain win in Women's Euro qualifiers

Marie-Antoinette Katoto (C) celebrates after scoring <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:France;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">France</a>'s winner against <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:England;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">England</a> (Darren Staples)

France came from behind to beat England 2-1 in Newcastle in a pivotal Women's Euro 2025 qualifier on Friday, while Jenni Hermoso scored as world champions Spain won 2-0 in Denmark.

Reigning European champions England had gone ahead on the half-hour mark at St James' Park when Arsenal's Beth Mead fired home after the ball broke to her in the box.

However, France equalised before the break as Elisa De Almeida hooked in a volley from a corner, and they stunned the home crowd by going in front midway through the second half thanks to a fine finish from inside the box by Paris Saint-Germain striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto.

France then held on to make it three wins out of three as they sit top of Group 3 in League A, from which the top two will progress directly to next year's European Championship in Switzerland.

The result potentially complicates the holders' chances of making the finals, with England now level on four points with Sweden, who won 3-0 away to Ireland in Dublin.

France coach Herve Renard praised the performance as giving an "important signal" to their rivals.

"It was perhaps not France's best match but we have shown we can to be strong when we travel.

"It's the reward for teamwork," added Renard, saying it was "the best possible way to prepare for the Olympic Games" at home in Paris this summer.

England manager Sarina Wiegman said: "It is very disappointing. We should have won the game. No matter how good the goals were, you have a chance to stop it. The first one was fantastic and so was the second. It is disappointing and we definitely need to tighten up on second balls."

Johanna Rytting Kaneryd of Chelsea scored twice for Sweden either side of a goal by Fridolina Rolfo, and Ireland are bottom without a point halfway through the campaign.

The reverse fixtures take place on Tuesday, when France and England meet again in Saint-Etienne, with Sarina Wiegman's side now aware that they can ill afford to suffer another defeat.

Friday's win is a boost for Herve Renard's France side who are also preparing for their bid for Olympic gold at the upcoming Games on home soil, at which Spain and Germany will be the other European contenders.

- Protester delays Israel game -

Spain made it three wins out of three in Group 2 as Hermoso gave them the lead in Denmark before Mariona Caldentey added a penalty.

The World Cup holders, whose side featured several members of Barcelona's Champions League-winning line-up even if Aitana Bonmati was left on the bench, are now three points clear of the Danes at the top of the group.

Behind them, Belgium got their first points with a 2-1 win in the Czech Republic.

Elsewhere, Germany have maximum points in Group 4 after recovering from the loss of an early goal to beat Poland 4-1, with Giulia Gwinn netting twice.

Austria and Iceland drew 1-1 in the same group, while Group 1 leaders the Netherlands defeated Finland 1-0 and Norway played out a goalless draw with Italy in the same section.

Meanwhile the League B, Group 2 qualifier between Scotland and Israel in Glasgow was delayed for over half an hour after a demonstrator avoided security at Hampden Park and chained himself to a goalpost.

Friday's fixture in Glasgow, like the 'return' match in Hungary on June 4, was taking place behind closed doors, without any spectators.

That decision was taken against the backdrop of the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict.

But on Friday, as pro-Palestinian protests took place outside Scotland's national stadium, it emerged just before the scheduled 1805 GMT kick-off that somebody had managed to access the arena and attach themselves to one of Hampden's goalposts with a heavy-looking chain around their neck.

The protester, wearing a 'Red Card For Israel' T-shirt, was eventually removed before the teams emerged for a second warm-up, with the game eventually kicking-off at 1836 GMT.

Scotland won the match 4-1.