England stuns Germany, 1-0, for third place at World Cup

England stuns Germany, 1-0, for third place at World Cup
England midfielder Fara Williams (4) celebrates with teammate Steph Houghton after scoring on a penalty kick against Germany in the Women's World Cup third-place game Saturday in Edmonton, Canada. (Dennis Grombkowski / Bongarts / Getty Images)

— Days after a gut-wrenching loss, England finished its deepest run in the Women's World Cup with an uplifting victory.

Steph Houghton's nifty legwork prevented an own goal and Fara Williams scored on a penalty kick in the 108th minute, leading England to a 1-0 victory over top-ranked Germany in the third-place game Saturday.


"This is the team we wanted to be," Coach Mark Sampson said. "We wanted to show the nation that, look, we can be knocked down, but we can also get back up. And that's what we did."

Karen Bardsley stopped seven shots as England rebounded from Wednesday's 2-1 loss to Japan. That semifinal game was decided in the final minute of second-half stoppage time when Laura Bassett directed the ball into her net.

This was England's first victory over Germany in 21 meetings.

"To finally beat Germany is a real big statement from this team, and something these players will be remembered for," Sampson said. "I think the performance of the players speaks volumes of the type of group I've had the pleasure of working with."

England finished the tournament with a 5-1-1 record. It had never won an elimination game in the Women's World Cup in three previous appearances.

Germany, which won the World Cup in 2003 and 2007, is 2-3 in the last two tournaments in games after the preliminary rounds.

It was the last World Cup game for Germany Coach Silvia Neid and goalkeeper Nadine Angerer. Neid is retiring after the 2016 Olympics and Angerer is retiring from the national team after this tournament.

"It's very sad, but that's how it is. This is reality," Neid said. "In the end, I think England had more chances. We had a lot of chances, but unfortunately, we didn't have any goals."

Lianne Sanderson set up the goal when she was pulled down by Tabea Kemme while trying to get to a pass into the penalty area to the right of the goal. Williams scored her third goal of the tournament, and second on a penalty kick, by punching the ball just inside the left post while Angerer faded the other way.

Neid said the penalty was justified.

England avoided a major scare in the eighth minute when Jo Potter came within inches of scoring into her own goal.

Germany's Sara Daebritz sent a pass into the penalty area and teammate Bianca Schmidt headed it toward the net. Unaware that Bardsley was preparing to catch the ball, Potter leaped and got her head on it. The ball caromed toward the goal, where Houghton was facing the net and kicked it back over her head inches before it crossed the line.

Bardsley said she wants to frame the picture of the captain preventing the goal.

"I think that picture will forever be etched in my mind of Steph's leg above her head, practically touching the crossbar," Bardsley said. "I think that epitomizes what this team is about in my opinion. There wasn't a player on the pitch or even on the touch line today that wouldn't have given their right leg to make sure that we won a bronze medal."


Germany had several opportunities to tie the score in the final 10 minutes.

Anja Mittag, off a free kick just outside the penalty area, found an opening and got a shot off that was scooped up Bardsley. In the 116th minute, Schmidt got behind England's defense and headed a cross just wide of the right post.