2015 Women’s World Cup – England vs Germany – Three Lionesses Make Most of Third-Place Opportunity

Starting Tactical Lineup (from FIFA.com)

Starting Tactical Lineup (from FIFA.com)

PRE – These two sides enter this consolation match with very different mindsets after defeat in mid-week. For Germany, they’ll know that regardless of this result, their performance for the month will be criticized after many had tipped the European champions to lift the trophy on Sunday. England, on the other hand, will head back across the Atlantic to a raucous reaction in all likelihood, having outperformed expectations by a large margin, even with the heartbreaking defeat to Japan in the semi-final. As always, these two nations are heated rivals in any sporting encounter, and this match also will serve as an unofficial “best of Europe” in this tournament, adding extra spice to an already intriguing match.

1′ – First chance to Germany, as Daebritz scampers down the line before crossing in the box towards Petermann. Header from the young forward is pushed around the post by Bardsley. The keeper’s punch from the corner isn’t 100% convincing but good enough to clear the danger.

8′ – Kemme crosses towards the far post, about six yards out. Schmidt heads back across the face of goal, and Bardsley and Potter make a meal of it, colliding while the keeper tried to catch. The ball bounces towards goal before being hooked off the line by Houghton. Petermann tries to knock the loose ball home with it being blocked before Daebritz rockets a shot over.

9′ – England are rattled early. Carney has a simple pass blocked by Laudehr, and Petermann plays Sasic through on goal. The forward is being closed down but still has a 1v1 and hits a tame shot right at the keeper.

12′ – First real chance for England off a corner. They take and drive it into the six, where Angerer manages to meet the ball through a crowd with a punch. It bounces to an unmarked Potter at the top of the arc, but her shot is blocked. Bronze manages to get to the endline and cuts it back for Houghton, but her shot is weak and right to Angerer.

18′ – Daebritz chests a cross down at the edge of the area and turns into a volley that goes over the bar. Would’ve been spectacular.

28′ – Well, that was rude. Greenwood, in her own end tries to shield the ball off from Daebritz near the sideline. The English wing-back slows up and drives a shoulder and elbow into Daebritz’s chest, sending the young star to the turf. The German is incredulous, as am I.

30′ – More awkwardness for the English defense off a corner. Behringer gets a head to the delivery, but Bardsley runs into Chapman while she tries to get to the ball, though she recovers quickly. Bad communication today for the English defense and keeper.

32′ – Bronze wins a corner with some nifty dribbling. Germany promptly clear away.

41′ – Peter shields the ball at the sideline. White pushes her over with both hands. Peter holds her face. Oy vey.

45′ + 1′ – Behringer finds Daebritz in space in midfield and slots her a ball, with the midfielder slithering past one defender and getting into the box, where a shot is blocked.

HT – Well, it’s not been a classic. The first twenty minutes or so were very promising, with Germany on top and looking likely to fire home but with England also threatening. And then the match petered out. The defending hasn’t been top notch, especially in the boxes, while the referee has let some egregious physical play go as well. Hopefully, each side can turn it around in the second half.

46′ – SUB – Germany switch central midfielders, with Melanie Leupolz on for Behringer.

51′ – Department of Receipts, Part I: Kemme shoulders Scott off the ball at the near sideline, sending the England midfielder to the floor, right in front of an unimpressed Neid.

53′ – Germany so close to an opener. Sasic from deep crosses towards the penalty spot and Daebritz, who fronts Bronze and volleys at goal. Bardsley makes a brilliant save though, diving to her right and pushing wide. In the aftermath of the corner, Germany has a handful of shots blocked by the English defense.

60′ – German corner delivered to the penalty spot is met with a grazing header from Laudehr. It bounces dangerously in front of Bardsley, but she punches away, with her defense clearing out.

61′ – SUB – England bring on Eniola Aluko, stuck in mothballs for most of this tournament, for the largely ineffective White.

65′ – A Kemme effort rises and bounces off Houghton’s elbow and isn’t called. This referee isn’t having a particularly great match.

67′ – Houghton heads a corner wide. It’s looking increasingly likely that a set piece could decide this one.

69′ – Kemme goes on a dazzling run from the near sideline, cutting inside to the top of the arc and skipping over a fatigued challenge on the way. She shoots and just misses wide of the post. A sensational individual effort.

73′ – England continue to look dangerous on corners. This time, Jill Scott takes the delivery at the far post side of the six but heads wide.

73′ – SUB – Right after the corner, Germany bring on Anja Mittag for Sasic.

75′ – Aluko powers past Kemme deep in the England end and crosses towards the penalty spot. Fara Williams hits an absolute rocket on the half-volley that bounces off a German body. No call on England claim for handball, and it’s cleared.

76′ – How are England not ahead? Long ball forward sees Bartusiak miss her header, letting Bronze in behind. She dribbles towards goal, squares to Aluko, who plays a through ball into Scott’s path. Scott somehow gets the ball caught in her feet, with Angerer diving at her and Bartusiak poking free. Aluko gets it, plays wide for Carney who crosses to Scott, who pokes wide.

77′ – YELLOW CARD – England (Chapman) – Chapman gets booked for an innocuous challenge from behind on Daebritz. That could’ve been called for fifteen other challenges this match.

80′ – SUB – Lianne Sanderson comes on for England, with Chapman making way.

83′ – YELLOW CARD – England (Bardsley) – Bardsley’s booked for time wasting…which was kind of dubious. This ref’s having a shocker.

84′ – Aluko’s been torturing Germany’s defense with her pace since coming on and wins another corner off Bartusiak. This time, England can’t do much with it.

86’ – Well, the gameplan is steady. Long ball to Akuo, who outruns the defense once more but can’t maintain control, letting Angerer come out and slide for it, taking a knock in the process.

90’ – Bronze cuts a path to the endline beyond tired German legs before cutting it back towards Sanderson. Sanderson lays it back for Houghton at the top of the arc, but her shot is over the bar.

FT – England have all but taken the match over since Aluko subbed in at the hour mark. Her pace is causing Germany no end of problems, and the English are perhaps unlucky not to have walked away with a normal time winner. They’ll be favorites…as long as it doesn’t go to penalties.

92’ – YELLOW CARD – England (Bassett) – Bassett is booked for kicking out at Leupolz while on the ground in a scrum. A bit harsh, IMO. Free kick goes into the wall, with Germany eventually winning a corner. Bardsley punches away, and a little later, Leupolz fires high.

95’ – Houghton gets her head on a corner, being helped out by being wide open but hits it right at Angerer.

97’ – Houghton with a nice last ditch tackle to poke away from Petermann, who was bearing down on goal.

98’ – Germany counter rapidly down the far flank, with Laudehr getting to the endline. Cutback for Petermann is again poked behind by Houghton’s slide. Laudehr gets a free header on the corner but puts it well wide.

101’ – SUB – Goessling comes off for Alexandra Popp (w/ giant headgear).

105’ – Leupolz fires one over the bar from the top of the arc after Daebritz had done well to get into the box past a few defenders following a short free kick.

HT in ET – The pendulum has seemingly swung back Germany’s way in extra time, with the offense waking back up after a dire last half-hour in regulation. Penalties to come?

106’ – PENALTY – England (Williams) – Massive. Sanderson chases after a ball bouncing towards the endline, only to be stopped by Kemme wrapping her arm around the attacker and taking her down. Germany incensed, but come on, that was a penalty. Popp steps towards the spot as an irritant, setting off a shoving match that the referee struggles to control. Fara Williams steps up and fires low and to the left corner. You don’t stop those.

112’ – SUB – Casey Stoney comes on for Fara Williams for England for their final sub.

114’ – Drama! Daebritz fights with English defenders at the edge of the area, winning a foul just past the line. Mittag hits a powerful shot with the free kick, and Bardsley spills it. The keeper manages to dive on it before any German can pounce to spare her blushes.

116’ – Germany should be level. Popp gets wide and crosses towards the far post, with Schmidt peeling away from markers and putting a diving header on the ball which flies wide.

120’ + 1’ – Popp manages to get up and head a cross at goal, but it’s weak and right at Bardsley.

FT – England prevail in dramatic fashion. They looked to be gassing in the first half of extra time but won a contentious penalty and held out in the end. Germany can have few complaints given their wasteful finishing. This could be the beginning of a boom for the Brits in WoSo and makes EURO 2017 that much more interesting. Germany were underwhelming this tournament and have plenty of questions to answer before Rio next year.

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