England beat Germany to Women’s World Cup Bronze….

Players of England celebrate

England outlasted two-time champions Germany in extra time to secure third-place thanks to a lone Fara Williams penalty. It was a first-ever win for England over Germany in 21 attempts after a match of end-to-end action and endeavour from both teams. The action started on eight minutes as a Tabea Kemme’s cross caused chaos for England, forcing Steph Houghton to hook clear off the line just moments after receiving treatment for an ankle injury. Within a minute Germany striker Celia Sasic had a chance to extend her lead atop the adidas Golden Boot chart but her weak shot was easily gathered by goalkeeper Karen Bardsley.

England soon found their feet and created several opportunities, most notably Houghton failed to make good contact from close range after superb work down the right from the always lively Lucy Bronze. The half-chances continued at each end, in particular Germany looked likely through the direct running of Daebritz, Simone Laudehr and others. Bardsley maintained parity with a superb save from Daebritz eight minutes after the break following a sweeping Germany move in one for the highlights reel. The litany of half chances continued in front of Bardsley’s goal, in particular Kebbe fired narrowly wide from 20 metres. However, England pushed hard for a winner as the contest became stretched and Jill Scott couldn’t get a shot away with only Nadine Angerer to beat, while Williams saw her fierce goal-bound shot hit a lurking defender. England may have finished the game stronger but Germany shaded the first period of extra time with a succession of corners causing concern for Bardsley. Finally the deadlock was broken a minute into the second period of extra time with Kebbe deemed to have hauled down substitute Lianne Sanderson. Williams, just as she had done in the semi-final against Japan, coolly converted by sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. Sophie Schmidt pushed a back-post header wide and Anja Mittag saw her free-kick blocked as Germany could find no way through in the dying minutes.

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