England Under-19s were unlucky to get knocked out of the European Championship s
England 0-1 Germany
England Under-19s were unlucky to get knocked out of the European Championship semi-finals in Sweden on Friday after putting in a superb performance against the reigning champions Germany
England had the majority of the possession at the Landskrona Stadium and controlled the game with some flowing, attacking football in severe windy conditions. But with the wind behind them, England conceded a penalty on 28 minutes when goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne brought down an opponent in the area. She was booked for the challenge and Germany captain Anne Sabel stepped up to convert.
England should have been ahead before that goal though, with Ellen Maggs sending a chip just over the bar after wrong-footing a defender and Katy Ward had a brilliant opportunity to score from close range but sent her shot wide.
The favourites Germany were stunned by England's pressure and their manager Silvia Neid conceded both on the pitch and in the press conference afterwards, that England had been the better side and should have won the game. They used three substitutions early in the second half with the wind in their favour, but they still failed to take control of the game and again England had the better of the chances.
Coach Mo Marley said: "It's good to hear opposing teams saying that you played well, but it would have been better to have had some luck today. It was a fantastic performance, but a disappointing result. We had done our research and the girls played well, but we just couldn't get those goals we deserved. The girls came out of the game with their heads held high."
This is the first official UEFA Under-19 finals following the switch from Under-18 to Under-19 level and in the fourth year of the Under-18/19 tournament, it is the first time that England had reached the final eight teams. England surpassed all expectations to reach the final four of the tournament, which also carries automatic qualification for the 1st FIFA Under-19 World Championship to be played in Canada in August.
Captain Jess Wright added: "This was our best performance of the tournament and we showed our full potential against Germany. We can take a lot out of the game and we know that we can now go to Canada to compete with the best. The atmosphere in the camp has been brilliant over the two weeks."
England had claimed second place in Group A ahead of Norway and Switzerland, who all finished on three points, on goal difference thanks to a 3-1 victory over the Norwegians in their opening game.
The final will take place on Sunday 12th May at the Olympic Stadium, Helsingborg, at 2.00pm CET and will be shown live on Eurosport.
England team: Toni-Anne Wayne, Leanne Champ, Jess Wright, Laura Bassett, Corinne Yorsten, Alex Scott (sub 83 mins Kim Holden), Kelly McDougall, Emily Westwood, Michelle Hickmott, Katy Ward (sub 64 mins Faye Dunn), Ellen Maggs