Host nation Germany maintained their 100 per cent record over England - a sequence which dates back to 1984 - with a 3-0 win in the UEFA Women's Championship. A near-capacity crowd in the Ernst-Abbe-Sportfeld, Jena, celebrated as three goals in the space of 11 second-half minutes saw Germany confirm their place as Group A winners with three wins out of three, 11 goals scored and only one conceded.
England depart from the competition with just one point from their three group fixtures and their disappointment was capped a minute from time as star striker Kelly Smith missed from the penalty spot.
England made significant changes and relegated skipper Maureen Marley to the bench. Angela Banks, the scorer of their only goal in the tournament so far, was also missing from the line-up as a result of an injury in the last game against Sweden. Tara Proctor wore the captain's armband and there were places in attack for the American-based Kelly Smith and all-time leading scorer Karen Walker.
Germany rested the influential Maren Meinert in one of two changes to the team that put five goals past Russia. They were soon looking to add to their goal tally, the ever-dangerous Birgit Prinz seeing her cross headed onto the top of the crossbar by Claudia Müller though in truth goalkeeper Pauline Cope was watching it all the way. Something similar than happened at the other end as Sue Smith's attempted cross bounced off the bar, Karen Burke aiming her follow-up wide.
Then followed a strong period of German pressure in which Sandra Smisek was a key figure. First she combined with the pacy Pia Wunderlich with Prinz sending the subsequent shot across the face of goal. Her header from a Müller cross was then not far wide.
Bettina Wiegmann, another German midfielder who loves to impose herself on proceedings, delivered two attempts to break the English resistance, the first too high, the second she dragged wide. Germany made two changes at the break and Martina Müller took no time to adjust to the pace of the game, requiring the impressive Katie Chapman to make two crucial challenges in rapid succession. It was a similar pattern to the first half with Germany dominating but England holding them off and able to carve out the occasional decent chance.
Then Germany broke the deadlock and the floodgates opened. In the 57th minute Renate Lignor combined with Prinz and Petra Wimbersky fired in. Seven minutes later Karen Smith should have found an equaliser but put her shot against the woodwork.
That proved costly as Germany went to the other end and doubled their advantage through Wiegmann. Two then became three and what a smart piece of execution this was from Lingor who first missed the ball completely with one foot, then drove home fulsomely on the volley with the other.
There could have been further additions to the scoreline as the England defence exhibited signs of fatigue in the strength-sapping conditions. Still they battled on, hurling their tired bodies in the way of some formidable German attacks.
They could even have had the last word and gained a semblance of consolation, but Kelly Smith saw her penalty attempt a minute from time well saved by Silke Rottenberg. The decision came as Walker was upended by Stefanie Jones.
Player of the match: Bettina Wiegmann (Germany)
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