England finished the tournament on a high and above expectation while Germany head home with their final defeat representative of a poor tournament.

What Happened

It wasn’t pretty but England ended a thoroughly successful campaign by making a little more history: this time claiming their first ever win over Germany.

The game was a mostly dull affair with neither side too keen on over-committing players forward or over-inventive in midfield.

Very few chances passed by in the first half with England defending more impressively. Once again Mark Sampson’s team were set up to frustrate the opposition and impose their physicality on the Germans going forward, and it worked in nullifying the world number one.

England was unable to really make an impression in the final third with all forward runs too deep to create any real moments of promise. In the second half Jill Scott rose highest from Greenwood’s corner but nodded wide.

Space began to open up for Germany midway through the second half as Kemme came closest from distance.

Steph Houghton was denied by Angerer in extra time after Fara William’s teasing corner delivery whilst Laudehr followed up with a similar chance for Germany.

England were awarded a penalty just after half-time in extra time when Kemme rugby-tackled Sanderson in the box. Fara Williams confidently stroked it in the corner to give England a 3rd placed finish, breaking their German hoodoo in the process.

Another massive, trophy-like result this tournament for the Lionesses and what should be a watershed moment for the women’s game in England.

Standout Performances

Once again England was able to frustrate one of the world’s best. Credit Mark Sampson who got his team selection and tactics spot on in the second game running. Steph Houghton and Karen Bardsley were two vital components of the English defence, the former making one particularly good save from Sasic in the second half. Katie Chapman was brought in to help screen the back four and patrolled the midfield well with the ever-roving Fara Williams who slotted her third penalty of the tournament. The bustling, terrier-like Enolia Aluko made a positive impact when coming on in the second half and pressed from the front.

Talking Points

Typically third-placed play-off matches are more entertaining than the final itself because of the lack of pressure allows more freedom for creativity and expression, but it was not the case today. England were clearly more up for it than Germany with the thought of beating their rivals for the first time clearly a motivational factor – but how many players care about finishing third in the first place?

What it means

England have their best World Cup finish of both sexes since 1966. It’s their first ever win over Germany and it came in Germany manager Silvia Neid’s final game in charge. Germany finish the tournament in fourth place for the second time.

Needs Work

Germany need to refine their attacking approach with an element of ruthlessness sorely lacking from their last two displays. They look too ponderous at times when faced with a packed defence and were too slow to take advantage of any England mistake.

One could sense England were more hungry today, predominantly first to 50/50 balls and leaving more grit in the tackle.

Goal of the Day

The only goal of the game, Fara Williams’ penalty, was ultimately the difference between the two sides and a worthy winner. Another composed finish from a cool customer in Williams who was integral to England’s history-making tournament.

Miss of the Day        

Germany had a chance to equalise with five minutes remaining when Schmidt, unmarked at the back post, couldn’t glance her diving header goalwards, with Bardsley beaten.

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