England played Germany to a 2-2 draw on Sunday evening, setting up a first-place match between themselves and the United States on Wednesday. The two teams traded goals throughout the match and either team could have come away with a victory, but as English manager Phil Neville said in the press conference, it was a "fair reflection" of the match because his team "had no belief in the first half."
A pair of quick strikes
The first goal of the match came for Germany in the 17th minute of the match. The ball was played into the box and the Germans had four distinct shots on goal, but all of them were denied. It wasn't until an English defender tried to clear the ball that her kick was blocked by the foot of Hasret Kayikçi into the back of the net. Germany probably should have been able to put away one of the previous shots, but they definitely deserved this goal.
England came back with a vengeance and pushed forward on attack just after play restarted. A testing shot was taken from the outside of the box, and it probably wouldn't have found the goal if it hadn't been interfered with. The German defense blocked the ball and it rolled right out above the box. England's Ellen White was in the perfect position to take a hard shot on goal, and the defense deflected the ball past Almuth Schult. Unlike the German goal, this goal did not feel imminently deserved but it knotted up the scoreline.
Luck swings for and against Germany
The second half started out with Germany on the front foot. While the English defense had been strong at defusing German atacks to this point, the ball found it's way inside Siobhan Chamberlain's box after a German shot. Chamberlain turned and kicked the ball to clear it, but it hit the back of defender Millie Bright's calf and deflected back into the goal. Despite picking up the own goal, it probably wasn't Bright's fault. Germany took the 2-1 lead in the 53rd minute.
The next chunk of gameplay saw a series of substitutions by both teams, but they were also plagued by taking too many touches on attack. It felt like any time Germany or England found some open space they would dribble until it closed instead of taking a shot or sending a pass. It left the game feeling slow despite being mostly wide open.
It was the 73rd minute when the German fortune turned. A long, looping ball was played over the German defense to Ellen White, who streaked down the field all alone with the ball. The German defenders lifted their hands and gestured offsides, but the flag was kept down. It probably was offside, but that doesn't change the fact that Schult retreated into her goal and White easily beat her. The complaining continued, but the goal would stand and tie the game at two goals apiece.
Both sides made a series of substitutions, but the attacks continued to flounder. Germany and England were each a bit disappointed with the performance. Germany certainly thinks they were wronged on the non-call when White scored the second goal. Germany also had the better of shots and possession through the game. England, on the other hand, certainly feels that the own goal wasn't deserved. Head coach Neville mentioned that he was extremely disappointed by the performance of his team in the first half. In all, the game probably ended as it should, with neither side living up to their fullest potential.