CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE at WEMBLEY: History was made as England’s women played their first game at the new Wembley against European champions Germany.
However, the scoreline sided with history too as the visitors extended their unbeaten record with a 3-0 win. In 20 meetings, the Germans have come out on top 18 times with two draws.
The contrast was already stark last year at the UEFA European Championships. England did not emerge from their group while Germany went on to win the tournament for the eighth time.
That flop cost head coach Hope Powell her job, with Mark Sampson taking over in December to begin a new era for the team.
The Football Association had said before the match that 55,000 tickets had been sold. Although 45,619 actually attended, it was still a record for an England women’s game.
England started in earnest right from the kick-off as they pressured their opponents and a long range strike from Arsenal Ladies’ Jordan Nobbs rattled the bar. Five minutes later, however, Alex Scott headed a Germany corner into her own net.
The crowd got behind the home side but they were disappointed again. England’s defenders were slow in catching up with Germany captain Celia Sasic who raced through in the 11th minute and poked the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Karen Bardsley.
England called a quick team huddle at the edge of their penalty box to try to regroup and figure out a way of not letting their showpiece match turn into a thrashing.
It worked up until the last minute of the half, when FFC Frankfurt’s Sasic headed in Tabea Kemme’s cross to give the European champions a three-goal lead.
In the second half, Germany looked content with their advantage and allowed England to break forward. But the home side just could not find a way through their organised opponents.
Substitute Jodie Taylor had a chance for England in the final 10 minutes when she raced through on goal but lashed the ball wide with her left foot.
An even better chance fell to Manchester City’s Jill Scott in the final minute of the match as she was alone in the six yard box to the right of goal but she also fired wide.
For England the game was the start of their build-up to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, for which they had qualified for comfortably with 10 wins out of 10.
So too did Germany, who showed England the kind of challenge for which they need to be better prepared next summer.