England Women are still waiting for their first victory over Germany after the eight-time European champions ran out 3-0 winners at Wembley Stadium.
The stage was set for a memorable afternoon, with a record 45,619 crowd in attendance to see the Three Lions’ first match at the famous stadium since it re-opened in 2007. It was also the occasion of Karen Carney’s 100th cap.
England 0-3 Germany
Women's International Match
3pm, Sunday 23 November 2014
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Live on BBC2
And having won all 10 World Cup qualifiers en route to the 2015 World Cup in Canada, Mark Sampson’s squad came into the game in buoyant mood – but they were undone by three first-half strikes.
Alex Scott deflected home Simone Laudehr’s header early on before captain Celia Sasic notched a classy brace to give England a mountain to climb.
The Lionesses were unable to launch the improbable comeback against the two-time world champions and the wait for a win over Germany has now stretched to 20 matches.
But a bumper crowd had braved the downpours to be a part of this historic event and they were treated to a pulsating opening period.
Jordan Nobbs almost created another piece of history when she saw her long-range effort bounce back off the crossbar with mere seconds of the game gone.
The Arsenal midfielder shut down Melanie Behringer straight from kick-off, played a one-two with Lianne Sanderson and thumped a 25-yarder against the woodwork. There were just eight seconds on the clock.
Germany then looked for a quick start of their own as Melanie Leupolz forced Karen Bardsley to turn away an angled drive at her near post.
It was a pulsating start and the opening goal came in the sixth minute as Laudehr arrived at the near post to head Behringer’s corner towards goal, only for the ball to brush off Scott and past Bardsley.
Things got worse for England before the quarter-hour mark as Sasic capitalised on a mix-up between Fara Williams and Steph Houghton on the halfway line, raced clear down the left and clipped the ball beyond the advancing Bardsley.
Rattled by those early setbacks, Sampson’s side were unable to get a foothold in the game but attempted to break at speed at every attempt.
On one such occasion, Scott scampered down the right and picked out Nobbs with her cross. The 21-year-old’s looping header was caught by Almuth Schult who stumbled backwards but not far enough over the goal-line.
Schult was called into action once more before the break to smother Williams’ 18-yard effort on the half volley.
But there was still time for Germany to extend their lead, and ultimately complete the win, as Sasic grabbed her second of the game on the stroke of half time, heading home Tabea Kemme’s pinpoint centre.
Neither side offered much in the second half. Seemingly happy with the scoreline, Germany made three changes at the break, and there was a lack of rhythm to proceedings after the break.
Substitute Fran Kirby, on for Eniola Aluko, was a stride away from having a clean strike at goal on the edge of the box but she slipped before making contact – and fellow sub Jodie Taylor dragged a shot wide of the target soon after.
Then Jill Scott fired into the side-netting and Houghton headed wide in the final minute as England looked for a goal to mark the occasion.
But there are plenty of positives to take from this historic match.
First and foremost, England received an extremely challenging test which will awaken them from their relatively comfortable World Cup qualifying campaign.
And as Carney became only the eighth, and youngest, player to reach 100 caps, the Lionesses attracted a new record crowd for a Women’s match in England.
England Women: 1 Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), 2 Alex Scott (Arsenal), 5 Steph Houghton (C; Manchester City), 6 Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), 3 Demi Stokes (South Florida Bulls), 7 Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), 4 Fara Williams (Liverpool), 8 Karen Carney (Birmingham City), 9 Lianne Sanderson (Arsenal), 10 Toni Duggan (Manchester City), 11 Eniola Aluko (Chelsea).
Substitutes: 19 Fran Kirby (Reading) for Aluko (62), 18 Jill Scott (Manchester City) for Williams (71), 20 Jodie Taylor (Washington Spirit) for Sanderson (80), 16 Jo Potter (Birmingham City) for Scott (84), 14 Alex Greenwood (Everton) for Stokes (84), 12 Laura Bassett (Chelsea) for Bronze (90)
Substitutes not used: 13 Siobhan Chamberlain (Arsenal), 15 Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), 17 Jade Moore (Birmingham City), 21 Carly Telford (Notts County), 22 Jess Clarke (Notts County).
Head coach: Mark Sampson
Germany: 12 Almuth Schult, 3 Josephine Henning, 5 Annike Krahn, 6 Simone Laudehr, 7 Melanie Behringer, 13 Celia Sasic (C), 14 Tabea Kemme, 16 Melanie Leupolz, 17 Jennifer Cramer, 18 Alexandra Popp, 20 Lena Goessling.
Substitutes: 10 Dzsenifer Marozsan for Behringer (46), 22 Luisa Wenseng for Kemme (46), 11 Anja Mittag for Leupolz (46), 8 Pauline Bremer for Laudehr (76), 4 Babett Peter for Cramer (89), 23 Verena Faisst for Sasic (89)
Substitutes not used: 21 Laura Benkarth, 28 Lisa Weiss, 29 Meike Kamper, 2 Bianca Schmidt, 15 Kathrin Hendrich, 24 Lena Petermann, 25 Sara Dabritz.
Goals: Scott (OG,6), Sasic (12, 45)
Bookings: Mittag (58)
Head coach: Silvia Neid
Referee: Esther Staubli