Wembley was meant to be a night for the Lionesses but Germany spoiled the party as Klara Bühl scored a late winner to break English hearts on a historic night for women's football, writes Ella Jerman.
Germany put an early downer on the Lionesses’ Wembley outing, striker Alexandra Popp scoring the opener just nine minutes in, but England’s World Cup top goalscorer Ellen White levelled just before the break after Nikita Parris’ missed penalty.
Yet a win was just never meant to be for the 77,768 fans at Wembley – a record crowd for a home Lionesses match –as Bühl’s last minute-winner turned the occasion from one to remember into one to forget.
Tonight was special 🙌
Sorry we couldn't give you a win - but we felt your support! pic.twitter.com/RF8z9rcxM5
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) November 9, 2019
The roars for the Lionesses were deafening from the offset but they were immediately silenced when Popp fired at goal from the left, but her former VfL Wolfsburg teammate Mary Earps came to the rescue by tipping her effort onto the bar.
England were given an early warning, but the response didn’t come quick enough.
With all the talk of the occasion it was the Germans who rose to it first - quite literally - when an unmarked Popp sent a towering header past Earps to silence Wembley just eight minutes in.
After he implored them to focus on their performance above the occasion, Phil Neville must have wondered whether his players were listening.
The Lionesses made a string of uncharacteristic errors, from Manchester City teammates Keira Walsh and Jill Scott getting muddled in midfield to Arsenal’s assist queen Beth Mead overhitting her crosses.
In amongst the Wembley masses were men, women and children alike watching the Lionesses live for the first time yet the sight was an all-too-familiar one for an England fan – they were being completely outplayed by a high-pressing Germany and their neatly-worked attacks.
England began to work themselves back in the game and were handed a lucky break when Mead was fouled by Germany’s Merle Frohms in the box, but were left with a sense of World Cup déjà vu when Parris missed the resulting penalty.
Luckily, the next dose of déjà vu was a more positive one, World Cup hero White doing what she does best and poking home the equaliser from Walsh’s lobbed ball to level the scores just one minute before the break.
England stepped it up a notch in the second-half, Lucy Bronze spearheading a string of attacks down the right, but they were almost left to rue another defensive error when Earps spilled in the box although Lina Magull’s follow-up was ruled offside.
In the search for a winner Neville decided it was time for drastic action as he brought on Jodie Taylor, Rachel Daly and 19-year-old Lauren Hemp to replace the front three of White, Mead and Parris, before Georgia Stanway came on to replace Jordan Nobbs just minutes later.
But the changes were made in vain. England’s attempt to create history in more ways than one fell short at the final hurdle, Bühl scoring in the 89th minute to end all English hopes of beating Germany on home soil for the first time.