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Women's Football News
Germany 0 England 1 (Williams pen 108)
An extra time penalty from Fara Williams saw England beat Germany for the first time in 21 attempts and secure themselves the bronze medals in the Third Place Play-off match in Edmonton.
Mark Sampson made changes in personnel and formation to the starting eleven with Alex Greenwood, Karen Carney and Ellen White all coming in along with Jo Potter, who played an unaccustomed role in the centre of defence in a back five, White ploughing a lone furrow up front.
Germany fashioned the first chance with just 42 seconds on the clock, Sara Dabritz breaking down the left and crossing for Lena Petermann whose downward header brought out a good save by Karen Bardsley at her near post.
There was a worrying moment when Steph Houghton went down with an injury but the captain was able to return to great effect, another Dabritz cross being headed back across goal by Bianca Schmidt, Jo Potter touched the ball past her own keeper but Houghton was able to hook off the line and Laura Bassett did well to charge down the rebound from Melanie Behringer.
England had another let off with Petermann's pass released Celia Sasic on goal but her tame effort was comfortably saved by Bardsley. The Lionesses then hit back and after winning a corner which was half cleared, Lucy Bronze did well to get to the line and pull the ball back for Houghton whose shot lacked power and went straight at Nadine Angerer.
Dabritz was looking impressive during the opening stages and she was unlucky with a chest trap and half volley which just cleared the bar. This was to prove a rare opportunity at either end though and the first half ended goalless with both teams largely cancelling each other out.
England started the second half brightly and won a couple of early corners but at the other end, they were grateful to Bardsley who pulled off an excellent reaction save from a well struck volley by Dabritz.
England were showing far more attacking intent in the second half and Houghton missed the target as she met an Alex Greenwood corner with a header.
Germany hit back with Tabea Kemme firing a shot inches wide following a good run in from the left but shortly afterwards, England passed up a glorious chance to take the lead. Fara Williams and Eniola Aluko combined to set up Jill Scott with only Angerer to beat but she hesitated fatally and the chance was lost. Carney tried to set up another chance through a low cross but Scott was unable to control at the far post.
Williams saw a powerful strike charged down by Saskia Bartusiak and Houghton fired over from the edge of the area but England's good spell could not bring a goal and the game went to extra time.
Things remained tight during the first period of extra time with the first clear opportunity going Germany's way, Simone Laudehr sending a free header wide from a corner. Melanie Leupolz drilled a shot over the bar following good work from Dabritz with virtually the last kick of the half.
Two minutes after the restart, Lianne Sanderson received a throw on the edge of the area and turned under pressure from Kemme. Sanderson was adjudged to have been held back and a penalty was awarded. Once again Williams demonstrated her composure under pressure to beat Angerer from the spot and give England the lead.
Germany were now forced on the offensive and won a free kick on the edge of the area for a foul on Dabritz. Anja Mittag was teed up to shoot but her effort was straight at Bardsley who clung on at the second attempt. The scores should really have been level a minute later though, Alexandra Popp broke down the left and crossed to the far post for Bianca Schmidt who somehow headed wide with the goal gaping.
Another anxious moment saw a shot take a deflection off Houghton but go straight at Bardsley and Germany's last chance was gone, leaving England to celebrate a first ever win against their rivals and bring reward for their efforts over the last few weeks.
Germany: Nadine Angerer, Bianca Schmidt, Tabea Kemme, Babett Peter, Saskia Bartusiak, Simone Laudehr, Melanie Behringer (sub Melanie Leupolz 45mins), Celia Sasic (sub Anja Mittag 73mins), Lena Petermann, Lena Goessling, Sara Dabritz.
England: Karen Bardsley, Lucy Bronze, Alex Greenwood, Fara Williams (sub Casey Stoney 112mins), Steph Houghton, Laura Bassett, Karen Carney, Katie Chapman (sub Lianne Sanderson 80mins), Ellen White (sub Eniola Aluko 61mins), Jill Scott, Jo Potter.
Player of the match: Karen Bardsley.
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