A first-half strike from Anja Mittag saw England fall to a narrow defeat in the final game of the SheBelieves Cup.
The Lionesses, knowing a victory would give them a great chance of lifting the trophy following Saturday’s defeat of hosts USA, made all the good early running.
But Mittag struck her 50th international goal on the stroke of half-time and, try as they might, Mark Sampson’s team could find no way through after the break, Jordan Nobbs going closest with an effort that crept inches wide.
- SheBelieves Cup
- Tuesday 7 March 2017
- RFK Stadium, Washington D.C.
Sampson vowed England would take the game to Germany from the off.
And, true to those words, the Lionesses started brightest, as Nobbs, Fara Williams and Jodie Taylor all tried their luck from the edge of the penalty area in the opening 10 minutes.
At the other end Mittag found space in the box to get on the end of Anna Blasse’s low cross, but blazed a first-time effort over the crossbar.
Midway through the first half Lucy Bronze stood tall to block a stinging effort from Dzsenifer, after the German captain embarked on a marauding run from deep inside her own half.
Ten minutes before the break Lina Magull came close to opening the scoring, her 30-yard pot-shot cannoning back off the crossbar.
But England responded quickly when Toni Duggan collected Nobbs’ pass and spun away from defender Blasse to create space to shoot, but her low effort was comfortably collected by keeper Laura Benkarth.
Though the Lionesses had begun well, Germany were now in control and took the lead a minute before half-time with their first goal of the tournament. After some slick build-up play on the left flank Mittag ran beyond the England backline, latched on to Dzsenifer’s low pass 15 yards out, and slotted past Siobhan Chamberlain.
Determined to get back in the game, Nobbs lost marker Sara Dabritz on the right flank shortly after the break, but a fine effort with the outside of her right foot crept just wide of the far post.
Substitute Ellen White glanced a header just wide as the clock ticked down, having leapt highest in the box to meet Karen Carney’s free-kick.
Mittag had a golden opportunity to put the game beyond England with 15 minutes to play but, standing unmarked inside the six-yard box, headed high and wide.
Defender Demi Stokes showed fabulous technique with a volley on the edge of Germany’s box, but Benkarth was well positioned to save.
The final chance fell to Jill Scott, who met White’s pass but struck wide of the near post.
England will play Italy at Port Vale on Friday 7 April, then welcome Austria to MK Dons on Monday 10 April.
Tickets for both games can be bought via TheFA.com/Tickets, and are also available via 01782 655821 (England v Italy) and 0333 200 5343 (England v Austria) as well as in person at each club’s box office.
England: 13 Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), 4 Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), 5 Steph Houghton (Manchester City; capt), 15 Laura Bassett (Notts County), 3 Demi Stokes (Manchester City), 17 Fara Williams (Arsenal), 8 Jade Moore (Notts County), 7 Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), 20 Karen Carney (Chelsea), 19 Toni Duggan (Manchester City), 9 Jodie Taylor (Arsenal)
Substitutes: 6 Millie Bright (Chelsea) for Williams 52, 11 Ellen White (Birmingham City) for Taylor 63, 18 Jill Scott (Manchester City) for Moore 73
Substitutes not used: 1 Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), 21 Mary Earps (Reading), 10 Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), 12 Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), 16 Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), 22 Nikita Parris (Manchester City), 23 Rachel Williams (Notts County)
Yellow cards: Duggan 36, Bright 67
Head coach: Mark Sampson
Germany: 12 Laura Benkarth, 2 Josephine Henning, 5 Babett Peter, 14 Anna Blasse, 17 Isabel Kerschowski, 4 Leonie Maier, 9 Alexandra Popp, 10 Dzsenifer Marozsan (capt), 13 Sara Dabritz, 11 Anja Mittag, 20 Lina Magull
Substitutes: 24 Kristin Demann for Blasse 46, 21 Lisa Weiss for Benkarth 47, 23 Verena Faisst for Kerschowski 60, 27 Sara Doorsoun for Magull 79, 18 Lena Petermann for Mittag 84, 7 Pauline Bremer for Dabritz 90
Substitutes not used: 1 Almuth Schult, 15 Mandy Islacker, 26 Hasret Kayikci, 29 Felicitas Rauch, 31 Linda Dallman
Head coach: Steffi Jones
Goal: Mittag 44
Yellow cards: Demann 70, Faisst 72, Mittag 76, Peter 87
Referee: Michelle Pye