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Bethan Merrick struck a hat-trick as England Under-17 cruised to a comfortable 7-0 victory over Armenia, meaning a win over Belgium on Friday would see them through to the Elite Qualifying Round of the UEFA Under-17 Championships.
Following on from their 2-0 First Qualifying Round defeat of Turkey at the weekend, Lois Fidler's side soon took command in Deinze, Belgium, and took the lead in the 28th minute through Paige Williams, who netted her second goal in as many games. Melissa Lawley doubled the advantage just three minutes later before Merrick struck the first of her treble on 36.
Two quick second half goals from the forward saw her claim the match ball by the 53rd minute and it was left to substitute Bethany Mead to complete the victory with a brace.
England complete their first batch of qualifiers against Belgium on Friday with the winner claiming top spot in the group and a place in the Elite Round. The runners-up must wait to see if they are one of the six best second placed teams in order to join the ten group winners in phase two.
England Under-17: Megan Walsh, Jade Bailey, Paige Williams (sub Aoife Mannion 40mins), Meaghan Sargeant, Leah Galton, Lucy Gunton-Jones, Sherry McCue (sub Holly Crosby 71mins), Anna Young (sub Bethany Mead 53mins), Katie Wilkinson, Bethan Merrick, Melissa Lawley. Subs not used: Jasmine Elliott, Bianca Bragg, Lauren Haynes, Taylor O'Leary.
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