My personal blog on Scottish Women's Football
Fara Williams penalty 108
Germany made five changes from the team that lost to the USA in the Semi-Final. Bianca Schmidt, Melanie Behringer, Babett Peter, Lena Petermann and Sara Daebritz came in for Leonie Maier, Melanie Leupolz, Annike Krahn, Anja Mittag and Alexandra Popp.
England made four changes with a formation change that saw them start with three at the back. Karen Carney, Alex Greenwood, Jo Potter and Ellen White replaced Jade Moore, Claire Rafferty, Toni Duggan and Jodie Taylor.
Germany could have scored in the opening minute when Sara Daebritz’s ball picked out Lena Petermann, but her header was tipped around the post low down by Karen Bardsley. They came even close minutes later. Bianca Schmidt’s header was flicked past Bardsley by Jo Potter, but England’s captain Steph Houghton was there to hook the ball off the line. Seconds later, the tournament’s top scorer Celia Sasic shot inside the box, but it lacked the power to trouble the keeper.
But England started to come into the match. Fara Williams’ corner was punched clear by Nadine Angerer to Potter whose shot was blocked. But Lucy Bronze recycled the ball to the byline where she cut the ball back to Houghton, but she mishit her shot which Angerer saved at ease.
Germany came close when Lena Goessling chipped the ball to Daebritz who volleyed the ball just over the crossbar.
Towards the end of the first half, Germany came close on a couple of occasions. Tabea Kemme’s cross picked out Sasic, but she headed over. And then in the last moment of the first half, Melanie Behringer’s corner picked out Sasic at the far post, but her volley was blocked by England.
Germany was only denied from taking the lead early in the second half by a world class save from Bardsley. Sasic’s deep cross picked out Daebritz whose volley was flying into the back of the net, but Bardsley made an incredible leaping dive to parry the ball around the post. Goessling’s corner eventually fell to Petermann whose shot was blocked by Houghton’s foot.
Minutes later, another Goessling corner picked out Petermann who headed into the ground which was punched clear by Bardsley
The introduction of Eniola Aluko improved the impact of England’s attack. Alex Greenwood’s corner picked out Houghton, but she couldn’t get the required direction on her header. Aluko’s pace then won a corner from which Jill Scott headed wide at the far post. Then once again, Aluko used her pace to get a cross in which was cleared to Williams whose thunderbolt hit Schmidt’s chest.
England created a brilliant goal-scoring opportunity. They broke with Lucy Bronze who slipped the ball to Aluko whose through-ball sent Jill Scott into the box, but she took far too many touches and her shot was blocked. But the chance wasn’t gone as they recycled the ball to Karen Carney, who played a delightful cross to the far post where Jill Scott couldn’t stretch enough to get the vital touch.
Germany threatened to create a couple of half-chances but each time they were stopped by either Laura Bassett or Steph Houghton.
With the second half coming to an end, England created a series of half-chances. Jill Scott launched a long ball forward which sent Aluko into the box, but she took a heavy touch which allowed Angerer to claim bravely. Then from a free-kick, Bronze’s cross fell to Houghton, but her shot flew over. And then, Carney picked out Aluko in the box, but the ball never sat up for her which allowed Babett Peter to clear.
Germany had the better of the first period of extra time. Petermann broke into the box, but she was denied by a superb sliding tackle by Houghton. Then Simone Laudehr tried to pick out Petermann in the box once again, Houghton was there to make the block.
Goessling’s corner then picked out Laudehr who was given a free header, but she missed the target.
And then the last action of the first period, Germany nearly caught England out with a quickly taken free-kick, but Melanie Leupolz’s shot was always rising over the bar.
But within one minute of the second period of extra-time, England had won the game-winning penalty. Lucy Bronze launched a long-throw into the penalty box where as Lianne Sanderson broke into the box, she was pulled back by Kemme. After a delay caused by the reaction of German players, Fara Williams calmly converted the penalty by sending Angerer the wrong way.
Germany won a free-kick on the edge of the England box. Anja Mittag blasted the ball straight at Bardsley who parried the ball, but the keeper pounced upon the rebound. Then Alexandra Popp played an incredible cross the far post where Schmidt was completely unmarked, but somehow her header failed to hit the target.
In the final minute, England nearly conceded an own-goal when in the box Mittag’s touch took a massive deflection off Houghton, but Bardsley was able to claim the ball.
In the end, England held out to secure their best ever World Cup finish. In fact, it is England’s best World Cup in men’s and women’s football since 1966.
Steph Houghton – England
Germany: (4-4-2) Nadine Angerer (c), Bianca Schmidt, Babett Peter, Saskia Bartusiak, Tabea Kemme, Simone Laudehr, Lena Goessling, Melanie Behringer, Sara Daebritz, Celia Sasic.
England: (3-5-2) Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton (c), Laura Bassett, Jo Potter, Lucy Bronze, Jill Scott, Fara Williams, Katie Chapman, Alex Greenwood, Karen Carney, Ellen White.
Goal: Fara Williams penalty 108.
Booked: Katie Chapman 77, Karen Bardsley 83, Laura Bassett 92.