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Late goals win Cup for England

England 3 Germany 1

att 13,463; at Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.

Two late goals were just enough to give England the result they required to lift the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup and record a first ever victory over Germany on home soil.

Spain’s 1-0 victory over Canada earlier in the day had meant that England needed a two-goal victory in order to finish on top of the table but, with the previous five matches having produced a paltry six goals, this was not likely to be an easy task.

After a largely scrappy opening to the game, things burst into life and after Ellie Roebuck had made saves from Maximiliane Rall and Lina Magull, England struck the opening blow. A minute after Fran Kirby had a shot charged down by the German defence, Kirby then set up Ellen White to slot home the opening goal on the quarter hour.

Germany’s initial response to going behind was a good one, with Magull firing a shot narrowly wide, but England settled down again and Georgia Stanway was next to go close with a shot that was saved from just inside the area.

England were forced into a change at the back as Jess Carter left the field with an injury, to be replaced by Rachel Daly. There was an even bigger blow to come though, four minutes before half time, as Alex Greenwood brought down Lea Schuller just outside the area and Magull stepped up to curl an unstoppable shot past Roebuck for the equaliser.

Millie Bright headed just wide from a Greenwood free kick as the teams went into half time with the score level at 1-1.

Klara Buhl had the first attempt on goal in the second half, with a shot off target from the edge of the area seven minutes after the restart, but this was a rare sight on goal at either end in the opening exchanges.

Sara Dabritz drove a shot over the bar after latching on to a pass from Magull but at this stage, England were otherwise rarely troubled whilst not creating too much themselves at the other end.

This was to change as the match moved into the later stages, first as Kirby had a goalbound shot blocked after being set up by White and Bright headed wide from a Kirby free kick. Leah Williamson fired a shot over from just outside the area as England continued to step up the pace.

Germany responded with a Jule Brand header and Chantal Hagel shot which were both off target but with six minutes left, England were to make the breakthrough - admittedly with the stroke of fortune they needed.  

Lauren Hemp powered at the German defence and into the area and, although her shot charged down, the ball rebounded for Bright - who had been pushed forward - to take a touch before slotting the ball past Merle Frohms. Replays showed that Bright was in an offside position from Hemp’s initial shot but the goal was allowed to stand and one more was all that was now needed.

Deep into injury time, Hemp’s headed pass found Kirby who made her way into the area and skipped past Sophia Kleinherne before burying a shot into the roof of the net to make it 3-1. There was no time for Germany to hit back and England celebrations could get under way.  

England: Ellie Roebuck, Lucy Bronze (sub Ella Toone 82mins), Jess Carter (sub Rachel Daly 34mins), Keira Walsh, Alex Greenwood, Millie Bright, Fran Kirby, Leah Williamson, Ellen White (sub Alessia Russo 82mins), Georgia Stanway (sub Nikita Parris 61mins), Lauren Hemp. Subs not used: Mary Earps, Demi Stokes, Hannah Hampton, Beth Mead, Jordan Nobbs, Niamh Charles, Jill Scott, Katie Zelem.

Germany: Merle Frohms, Sophia Kleinherne, Giulia Gwinn, Maximiliane Rall, Jana Feldkamp, Fabienne Dongus (sub Chantal Hagel 72mins), Sara Dabritz, Nicole Anyomi (sub Jule Brand 45mins), Lina Magull (sub Linda Dallmann 72mins), Klara Buhl (sub Selina Cerci 88mins), Lea Schuller. Subs not used: Leonie Maier, Laura Freigang, Martina Tufekovic, Hasret Kayikci, Felicitas Rauch, Ann-Katrin Berger, Sara Doorsoun, Ramona Petzelberger.