England clinch the trophy as the winners of the very first Arnold Clark Cup.
England approached the match in a favourable position. Spain’s earlier 1-0 win over Canada meant that England were in the running to clinch the silverware provided they beat Germany by more than one goal.
Had the Lionesses only managed a 1-0 win over Germany, the victors of the cup would be decided through the number of yellow cards accumulated across the competition. Spain collected five and entering their final game, England had two.
Across their 27 previous meetings, England have never beaten Germany on home soil. Their most recent loss happening overtwo years ago when they hosted the two-time World Cup champions at Wembley Stadium in October 2019.
Boss Sarina Wiegman lined-up a more familiar starting eleven than the team set up in the previous game against Spain. Captain Leah Williamson once again started in midfield alongside Keira Walsh in a double pivot, Jess Carter retained her position in the line-up but moved across to play the leftback role and Georgia Stanway filled the number 10 position behind leading striker Ellen White.
Ellen White opened the scoring for England at the 15-minutemark after a spell of pressure from the hosts. Georgia Stanway picked up the ball and ushered it centrally before passing it on to Fran Kirby. Kirby attempted a pass through to Ellen White who was ready and waiting in the area. Kirby’s initial pass was blocked however she was able to send forward the rebound successfully to White who controlled and shifted the ball with her left foot before striking it with the outside of her right. As you would expect, White had no problem hitting the back of the net and England took the lead.
Ten minutes later, Stanway found herself with the chance to make it two after White made a hankering run to collect a ball heading for the touchline. White managed to pull the ball back to Lucy Bronze who sent in an early cross to the growing number of white shirts in the box. Bronze’s cross was taken by Stanway who chested it down, twisted and hit the volley causing Merie Frohms to make a save.
After a positive half an hour from England, the visitors found themselves on the front foot. Germany had shown glimpses of threatening counter play and made good on this after Bronze was caught short high up the pitch. Forcing the turnover, Klara Bühl disposed Bronze and carried the ball in a driving run down the length of the half. Alex Greenwood came across to halt Bühl’s run, in doing so conceding the foul and earning herself a booking.
Lina Magull lined up the free-kick just outside of the area and hit what can only be described as a glorious strike. Magull’s zinger smashed the underside of the bar and bounced in leaving Ellie Roebuck no chance of stopping it. The Germans had levelled ten minutes before the half time whistle.
For the majority of the second half Germany looked to have the upper hand, creating themselves a few chances in which England looked stretched most noticeably down the left-handside with a defiant Bühl. Wiegman shifted personnel as she made her substitutes and fired a strong attacking contingent for the final quarter of an hour.
After England’s changes momentum shifted once again and the Lionesses looked to see out the game on top. Lauren Hemp, who had played a key part throughout, drove the ball in to the area, dancing through the German backline, and struck the ball on target, however Frohms managed to knock the effort away. Millie Bright, who had stayed upfront after a bout of England pressure found herself on the end of the rebounding ball, collected it calmly and struck it past the keeper. Bright was in an offside position however the goal was ruled in at 85 minutes.
With the crowd fully behind them and the trophy in their grasp, England secured their win with a goal from Fran Kirby three minutes into stoppage time. Kirby collected the ball centrally in her own half, powerfully carried it down the middle of the pitch, cruising through Germany’s defenders,and lifted her effort over Frohms to seal the deal.
England took home their first piece of silverware under Sarina Wiegman as the winners of the inagural Arnold Clark Cup.
England: Roebuck (GK), Bronze (82’), Bright, Greenwood, Carter(33’), Williamson (C), Walsh, Hemp, Stanway (61’), Kirby, White (82’)
Substitutes: Earps (GK), Hampton (GK), Daly (33’), Stokes, Toone (82’), Mead, Parris (61’), Nobbs, Charles, Scott, Russo(82’), Zelem
Germany: Frohms (GK), Kleinherne, Rall, Schüller, Feldkamp, Däbritz (C), Gwinn, Anyomi (45’), Bühl (87’), Magull (71’), Dongus(71’)
Substitutes: Berger (GK), Tufeković (GK), Doorsoun, Dallmann (71’), Rauch, Petzelberger, Cerci (87’), Brand (45’), Laura Freigang, Hage (71’)l, Kayikci, Maier