London: The England Under-19 women`s team qualified for the European Championships in bizarre fashion after scoring a penalty in a replay of the closing seconds of their match against Norway on Thursday.
The qualifier in Belfast resumed in stoppage-time with England trailing 2-1 and about to take a penalty after UEFA, European football`s governing body, took the unprecedented step of ordering the conclusion of the match to be replayed because of a refereeing error.
Norway were winning 2-1 in the original fixture on Saturday when England were awarded a penalty by German referee Marija Kurtes in the sixth minute of stoppage-time.
Leah Williamson scored from the spot but Kurtes disallowed the goal because an England player had encroached into the box before the kick was taken.
The final minute of the match followed and Norway appeared to have won 2-1.
However, the laws of football state that Kurtes should have ordered the penalty to be re-taken and UEFA said Thursday it had no choice but to order the final moments of the match be replayed from the point of the penalty kick.
Needing a draw to qualify for the finals in Israel in July, Leah Williamson was under immense pressure to slot home from 12 yards when the two teams returned to replay the last moments of the tie.
And Williamson kept her cool to score the spot-kick, with England playing out the final seconds of stoppage-time to secure the 2-2 draw that ensured they would qualify on goal difference.
It capped a crazy day for England, who had already clinched a 3-1 win over Switzerland earlier in the afternoon, while Norway, who had beaten host nation Northern Ireland 8-1 earlier in the day, also qualified for the finals.
"We originally wrote that Norway had qualified," UEFA said on its website.
"But on 8 April the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body announced that Norway`s game against England on 4 April will be replayed from the minute a penalty kick was awarded to England, who were 2-1 down at the time."
UEFA added Kurtes had been sent home from the qualifying event, with the conclusion of the England-Norway game controlled by a different referee.