An Alex Scott own goal and a brace from Celia Sasic did the damage in front of 45,619 fans on an historic occasion at Wembley Stadium.
It was the Women’s team’s first-ever appearance at the venue since it re-opened seven years ago but the hosts were given a tough time by the reigning European Champions.
England 0-3 Germany
Women's International Match
3pm, Sunday 23 November 2014
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Live on BBC2
The match was organised to ensure Mark Sampson’s side faced arguably the world’s best international team prior to next summer’s World Cup in Canada.
And Carney – who earned her 100th cap in the match – insists England have a lot of work to do before they can be considered on a par with the eight-time European Championship winners.
She said: "They’re a top team. We’ve got a lot to learn from them. It wasn’t the result we wanted but we’ve got six months to get it right before the World Cup.
"If you’d have given us the chance of getting it perfect now or in six months’ time we’d take it in six months’ time."
The teams last faced off in the 2009 European Championship final, with Germany winning 6-2, but both sides arrived at Wembley having won all 10 matches in their World Cup qualifying campaign.
But it was Germany who took the lead on six minutes when Simone Laudehr’s header came off Alex Scott at an acute angle.
They doubled their tally four minutes later when Celia Sasic broke free of the England back line to slot past Karen Bardsley and leave the Lionesses shell-shocked.
And Sasic notched her second and Germany’s third on the stroke of half time when she nodded home a cross from Tabea Kemme to claim her 55th international goal.
Carney added: "We were a little bit naïve in the first half. Sometimes you just need to get through the first 20 minutes and keep a clean sheet but we did our best and we’ll be better next time.
"We found our rhythm in the second half. Mark was encouraging us at half time and we had a bit more belief. We probably didn’t realise we had as much time on the ball as we thought but we will go away, reflect and get better for sure.
"We’ll learn from this. It’s our second major competitive game after Sweden and we did really well against them but Germany are a different entity – so we’ve got to be better. We’ll go away and come back fitter, faster and stronger."
And stressing the importance of having the England Women’s team play at Wembley Stadium for the first time, Carney added: "It’s a credit to everyone involved at The FA and everyone who got this occasion for us.
"Hopefully we’ll be back here again and get the right result next time."
Head coach Sampson added: "It’s a disappointing result, obviously, because we came into the game thinking we could win.
"We learnt some really valuable lessons today in terms of the of the Germans’ clinical finishing and their threat on the counter-attack.
"But I’ve got to applaud the spirit of the team. To come in at half time 3-0 down after conceding a goal right on the stroke of the interval – with the spirit and character they showed in the second half – they have got to be applauded for that.
"There were some really good signs for us moving forwards and we can take lots of positives from that game.
"We need to correct our defensive errors but we have to remember we’ve got six months or so before the World Cup starts – it doesn’t start in December, it starts in June and we’ll learn some valuable lessons from today."
Sampson was quick to pay tribute to the record-crowd of over 45,000 who braved rainy conditions to show their support for his team.
The crowd's response to England was a notable aspect of the afternoon, as the home side were applauded off at half time and then took a bow after the final whistle.
"It's incredible, there's no other word to describe it," added Sampson.
"They didn't just turn out but they stayed with the team and got behind them.
"The players will be forever grateful to every supporter who came today because they made it a special day for the players and one they'll remember for the rest of their lives."