England, Germany seek consolation prize after heartbreaks

England's players huddle during their final training session at the Fifa Women's World Cup in Edmonton, on July 3, 2015.
England's players huddle during their final training session at the Fifa Women's World Cup in Edmonton, on July 3, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

VANCOUVER • England and Germany wipe away the tears as they play for pride and third place at football's Women's World Cup in Edmonton today.

It was not the final game either had dreamt of but, after a month of gruelling football and an emotional roller-coaster ride to the semi-finals, both sides are determined to finish on a high.

A 92nd-minute own-goal from defender Laura Bassett ended England's fairy-tale run to their first semi-finals with a 1-2 loss to defending champions Japan.

It brought back memories of Italia '90, when Paul Gascoigne cried his way into English hearts in their last semi-final in the men's tournament, then losing on penalties to West Germany.

That time England finished fourth, but this time the women's team are determined to go home with a medal.

ONE LAST PUSH

There's a group of girls that give everything for the jersey and we have to take that into the game on Saturday. ''

STEPH HOUGHTON, England captain

"I think we can hold our heads high and we have to pick ourselves up to go and play against Germany," England captain Steph Houghton said. "There's a group of girls that give everything for the jersey and we have to take that into the game on Saturday. We want to finish third if we can."

England midfielder Fara Williams told Fifa.com: "We need to give one more big performance against the Germans. It will need to be a class performance."

Bassett was not alone in her tears.

It had been a dream tournament for Germany striker Celia Sasic until the hour mark into a semi-final against the United States in Montreal on Tuesday.

The tournament's top scorer was riding high with six goals , including two penalties against France in the quarter-finals.

But she missed from the spot minutes before the United States opened the scoring with a penalty in the Americans' 2-0 win, which ended Germany's bid for a record third title after 2003 and 2007.

Sasic has since been named on an eight-woman shortlist for the Golden Ball award for the tournament's top player along with England's Lucy Bronze, and both will be hoping to leave a lasting impression in their last match.

World No. 1-ranked team Germany are unbeaten in seven games against England. Most recently, they won 3-0 before a women's record 45,619 crowd at Wembley in November last year.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2015, with the headline 'England, Germany seek consolation prize after heartbreaks'. Print Edition | Subscribe