England women qualify for Euro 2017 - without kicking a ball

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Highlights: England win 7-0 away in Serbia

England women have qualified for Euro 2017 without kicking a ball after an administrative error.

The Lionesses beat Serbia 7-0 away on Tuesday, but had been told before the match that victory would not guarantee qualification for July's tournament.

However, it emerged on Wednesday that England's win assured them one of the six best runners-up slots and a place in the finals in the Netherlands.

"It is a bit curious. We were confident ourselves," said coach Mark Sampson.

"We did the maths and were clear that we would be going to Holland next year, but of course you have to wait for the official governing body to give you the go-ahead.

"It was nice to get that eventually this morning. With the players all together at the airport, we had a little celebration. Not on the pitch - but at Heathrow."

England captain Steph Houghton told BBC Radio 5 live: "We would have liked to have known last night, but now we can concentrate on next summer."

England will take part in an expanded 16-team tournament with hosts Netherlands, holders Germany, France, Norway, Spain and Switzerland also certain to be there.

Scotland are one of seven teams assured of at least a runners-up finish in the qualifying groups, but who may yet face a two-legged play-off to make sure of their place.

England coach Sampson says that he hopes his side can eclipse their third-placed finish at last year's World Cup.

"The target has got to be to go a little bit further. We want to be a nightmare for whichever team we face and try to come back with the trophy," he added.

England women at the World Cup
England's third-place finish last year was their best performance in a World Cup

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