England Women 1-2 Germany Women: Lionesses lose late on in front of record Wembley crowd
77,768 attend record-breaking game at Wembley; crowd just shy of overall women's record in England of 80,203 set at 2012 Olympics
By Charlotte Marsh at Wembley
Last Updated: 10/11/19 12:06pm
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 home international 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.
England: Earps (7), Bronze (7), Greenwood (7), Walsh (7), Houghton (7), Parris (7), Scott (7), Nobbs (6), Mead (8), Williamson (6), White (7).
Subs used: Hemp (5), Daly (5), Taylor (5), Stanway (5).
Germany: Frohms (7), Kleinherne (7), Hendrich (7), Oberdorf (7), Starke (6), Marozsan (7), Popp (7), Dabritz (6), Buhl (7), Magull (6) (6), Doorsoun (6).
Subs used: Hegering (6), Bremer (5), Knaak (5), Leupolz (5), Lattwein (n/a).
Player of the match: Beth Mead.
From then, England grew into the game and were awarded a penalty in the 35th minute. Beth Mead, who was England's attacking star, was 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 flew 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.
- Ellen White returned to the England XI after missing the last few games with injury. Jill Scott also returned after her own injury struggles with Mary Earps starting in goal.
- For Germany, they handed a debut to 19-year-old Sophie Kleinherne.
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.
Neville: The buck on recent results stops with me
England manager Phil Neville said: "We wanted to win the game and beat the second-best team in the world and that was a real killer blow at the end for the team. On reflection of the game, the first 22 minutes and the last eight minutes have cost us where we weren't good enough and Germany were better than us in those periods and that's why they won the game.
"One win in seven is totally unacceptable. It's not what I see as success and it's something I think we need to do something about very quickly. We can talk about the coming down from emotional highs and feeling the fatigue and everything of the World Cup, but for me, when you get into November, that becomes an excuse and we're not having any excuses in terms of where we are, what we want to achieve and where we want to go.
"I've got to take responsibility for those results, I'm the one who picks the team, I'm the one who sets the tactics, I train them, I communicate with them and the buck has ultimately got to start and stop with me. The team reflects the manager and at this moment in time, the results haven't been good enough which means I haven't been good enough.
"It is a sickener because of the emotional high they've gone up to today. That's what the best players have got to do, go again on Tuesday through disappointment and success. It's a challenge and it's my job to make sure they're in the right frame of mind, to pick the right team and to get the right result in the Czech Republic."
Sky Sports' Charlotte Marsh at Wembley:
In some ways, yes, but there were also some similar issues cropping up again for England. They struggled to contain Germany - who are ranked second in the world - when they were on top, which is when the visitors scored both their goals and was reminiscent of how they handled the USA during similar spells in their World Cup semi-final.
The Lionesses looked nervous in the opening 20 minutes and were not defending headers in particular as they should, leading to the opening goal plus two or three other great chances. Germany pressed high - which Neville said they did expect - and England struggled to keep any sort of sustained possession before things settled down for the hosts.
It was a similar story in the final 10 minutes too. While not wanting to give away a late penalty, Steph Houghton stepped off Klara Buhl which allowed her to ultimately score, as Germany once again bared down on the England box. There is always a pendulum swing in games, and the Lionesses need to find their confidence again when on the back foot.
Then, there is the issue of another missed penalty, which was not the first time Nikita Parris or England have missed from the spot in 2019. Neville staunchly defended his player after the game, but added: "I'm never going to criticise anyone who stands up there but we need to start sticking them away, that's for sure. If we had stuck that one away today, we wouldn't have lost the game."
But it is not all woe from Wembley. When England had their best spell in the last 20 minutes of the first half, Germany committed a number of fouls, with Beth Mead, in particular, an absolute handful and she should be commended for sparking the Lionesses' attack when they needed it most. They also showed superb fight to get back into the game and the finish from White demonstrated exactly why she was the joint-winner of the Golden Boot at the World Cup.
With the support growing all the time for the Lionesses, they now need to start matching that with some results.
England Women are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Ceske Budejovice to play the Czech Republic. For Germany Women, this will be their last game of 2019 and they will next play against the Republic of Ireland in a Women's European Championships qualifier in April.