England Women suffered a late 2-1 friendly defeat to Germany Women in front of a record 77,768 Wembley crowd, the highest-ever attendance for a women’s game in England.
There was plenty of anticipation leading into the game with a huge crowd expected, but Germany put a slight damper on proceedings inside nine minutes when Alexandra Popp headed home.
But England soon found their feet, and Ellen White (44), returning to the side for the first time since the World Cup, slotted home to level things up just before half-time after Nikita Parris (36) had missed an earlier penalty.
The second half saw fewer chances and England looked to be heading for a respectable draw in front of a packed Wembley, but Klara Buhl’s 90th-minute goal ensured Germany once again took the bragging rights in the women’s fixture.
How England were beaten late on
Germany came racing out of the traps on a historic night at Wembley, and could have scored inside three minutes. Lena Oberdorf drove to the top of the area before playing in Popp down the left. She got into the area before striking, but it pinged off the top of the crossbar before going wide.
But Popp and Germany did make their chance count six minutes later. Kathrin Hendrich clipped a ball into the area from the right and the Germany captain was in the middle to nod the ball home past a leaping Mary Earps.
From then, England grew into the game and were awarded a penalty in the 35th minute. Beth Mead, who was England’s attacking star, got slipped through inside the area and got in front of Hendrich. Goalkeeper Merle Frohms came racing off her line to try and get the ball, but sent Mead tumbling to the floor. Parris lined it up, but her effort pinged off the leg of Frohms and sent over the crossbar.
England got themselves level with one minute of the half to play with a wonderful goal from White. Keira Walsh dinked a lovely ball over the top of the Germany defence and White was waiting to tap home past the outstretched leg of Frohms. She wheeled away with her iconic glasses celebration, before being bundled by her team-mates in front of a jubilant home crowd.
The second half was a quieter affair but both sides went close early on. Parris drove forward before picking White on the right of the area. The striker got inside but dragged her shot across the face of goal with Mead unable to get there to poke home. Dzsenifer Marozsan then went close at the other end but lifted a long-range effort over the crossbar.
Germany did have the ball in the back of the net in the 63rd minute, but it was ruled out for offside. Earps initially pushed away a shot from Marozsan, but not far enough as Lina Magull came driving forward to slot home from point-blank range. But as she wheeled away to celebrate, the lineswomen’s flag was raised and the goal was ruled out.
But they did make the breakthrough on the stroke of 90 minutes in a gut punch for England in front of their record crowd. Marozsan played Buhl in at the top of the area and she made a driving run down the left with Steph Houghton not able to get close enough to stop her. The German then fired home into the far corner to wrap up the victory.
Player of the match – Beth Mead
While England may have been on the end of a late defeat, there is no doubting that Mead was the star of the show for the Lionesses. She sparked England’s attack into life when they needed it most, causing some real damage on the left before switching over to the right, where she did equally as well.
She won the penalty for England as Frohms swiped at her legs as she burst into the area, and when she was caught by Sara Doorsoun, the Germany defender should have been sent off. There were some wonderful crosses from the Arsenal forward too and some better finishing from England could have seen her walk away with an assist. Overall, a wonderful performance from Mead.
England Women are back in action on Tuesday as they travel to Ceske Budejovice to play the Czech Republic For Germany Women, this will be their last game of 2019 and will next play against the Republic of Ireland in a Women’s European Championships qualifier in April.