CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE REPORTS: The England women’s team will be remembered forever after beating Germany 1-0 and securing their best ever FIFA Women’s World Cup finish of third place, believes head coach Mark Sampson.
A Fara Williams penalty in the second period of extra-time gave England their first win over Germany in 21 attempts at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, the scene of their heartbreaking defeat to Japan just days before.
But England will leave Canada jubilant after their fiercely contested win here with Germany coach Silvia Neid admitting afterward that the better team had won.
Sampson paid tribute to his players following the medal ceremony and said they had written their names in the history books.
He said: “To bounce back from what was a real, real tough blow, to get beat in that semi-final – the performance of the player speaks volumes of the type of group I’ve had the pleasure to work with.
“I’m incredibly proud of all the players and staff. To achieve third place, to go home as the top European nation, to finally beat Germany is a really big statement and something that these players will be remembered forever for.”
The match itself included many chances for both sides and 0-0 after 90 minutes was a fair scoreline. But there was an underlying sense that England were not going to relent, epitomised by a resolute performance from captain and defender Steph Houghton.
The third place finish means that this England side are now the second most successful national team behind the men who won the 1966 World Cup.
Sampson hoped moments from Canada would be talked about in the same revered tones as some of those from Wembley all those years ago.
“Moments from 1966 like the Hurst hat-trick, the Moore tackle – these players will be remembered forever for what happened in this tournament. Whether it be a save, a goal, a block, a tackle or whatever it might be, I really hope 50 or 60 years this team is still talked about the special moments that this team has brought about in this tournament.
“I really hope the rest of the world and country marks them as legends of the country.”
For opposition coach Neid, the defeat capped what was in the end an underwhelming campaign for a team thought of as the tournament favourites.
Neid, who has been in charge of Germany since 2005, got a taste of facing England back in November at Wembley where her side comfortably won 3-0.
But she said she wasn’t surprised to come up against a much improved England in Edmonton.
“No it didn’t surprise me, not at all because we have seen what England was able to do in the course of this tournament,” she said.
“They continued to improve and today they really wanted it, they were so strong, and they were very clever in their conduct.
“So I’m not surprised England appeared like this today.”