Only days after suffering the cruellest of defeats against Japan, England’s Lionesses showed what they’re made of by beating European Champions, Germany 1-0 to win bronze in their most successful World Cup campaign ever. This was their first ever win against Germany and was exactly 25 years from the day that in 1990 Germany knocked the men’s team out of the World Cup on penalties.
Despite Germany’s glowing credentials on the International stage, having won the World Cup twice, and the European Cup eight of the eleven times it has been staged, the teams looked evenly matched on the day. From the starting whistle, England showed the confidence, desire and belief to fight for victory.
In the first half, England focussed on closed Germany down, with Steph Houghton and Laura Bassett working tirelessly in defence. Houghton saved a certain goal with a kick off the line, and later, Karen Bardsley made some fantastic saves to keep England in the game. During the second half England increased their attack. Jill Scott, and substitute Eniola Aluko both came close to scoring, but after a goalless ninety minutes, the match headed into a period of extra time. England were awarded a penalty when substitute Lianne Sanderson was impeded in the box, and Fara Williams scored a magnificent shot from the penalty spot. Germany tried to fight back but England’s defence proved too strong.
The final whistle blew, and England finished third in the World Cup, and made history as the most successful placing for an England team since 1966.