England claims 3rd: England Germany World Cup

Published: July 6, 2015

England claims 3rd: England Germany World Cup, England women will land at Heathrow on Monday morning after the most successful World Cup by a national side of either sex since 1966. While they will not be met by a screaming crowd of thousands, a phalanx of media photographers and TV crews is expected. This is significant progress from the indifference experienced by previous teams and testament to the effect they have had in a heady month for the women’s game in England.

On Saturday night Mark Sampson’s team showed how much they have grown as they beat Germany, who have routinely swatted away England sides for three decades and were co-favourites for his tournament, in an unusually competitive third-place play-off. Given Germany’s domination of the European game, and the shattering blow England suffered in the semi-finals, it was a very impressive and significant win.

Having survived an uncomfortable opening they drew Germany’s sting for an hour before becoming the more threatening. Their reward was a penalty, in the 107th minute, converted by midfield linchpin Fara Williams.

The temptation, in a match like this, is to give playing time to those members of the squad who may have felt under-used. Mark Sampson did this to an extent, but he had clearly still picked a team with a view to being as competitive as possible.

Jo Potter made her first start, and Alex Greenwood and Ellen White their second, but Lianne Sanderson remained simmering on the bench while Carly Telford, the only player not to get a game all tournament, was again left out.

Potter, unexpectedly, was deployed as one of three central defenders in a new formation. Since Potter is a midfielder it seemed odd to include her ahead of Casey Stoney, a regular centre-half. In the early stages she looked unsure of her positioning and nearly scored an own goal too, but after a difficult start the Birmingham player settled.

One player who did retain her place was Laura Bassett, the unfortunate scorer of the last-minute own goal that cost England their World Cup final place. She was given a rousing reception by the England fans in Edmonton.

Germany made five changes from the team beaten by the United States in their semi-final, but still looked formidable. Their last 20 meetings with England, going back more than 30 years, had produced 18 wins and two draws.

England began disjointedly, as if unsure of their new shape, and could have gone behind in the opening minute as Lena Petermann got between two of England’s central defenders to meet Sara Daebritz’s crosses. Karen Bardsley saved at her near post.

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