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Last Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007, 19:13 GMT 20:13 UK
England battle to hold Germany
England midfielder Jill Scott
England midfielder Jill Scott looks to bring England forward
England put themselves in a strong position to qualify for the World Cup knockout stages as they held tournament favourites Germany to a goalless draw.

Hope Powell's side dominated much of the game and now know a two-goal win over pointless Argentina in their final group game will see them through.

A well-organised England side had few real chances in a tight game.

But it took a fine late save from Rachel Brown to deny Kerstin Garefrekes and secure a well-deserved point.

England coach Powell made two changes of personnel and sweeping changes to her formation from the team that drew with Japan, with only four players starting in the same position.

Anita Asante came in to the centre of defence and Mary Phillip moved to right-back, allowing Alex Scott to move to the right wing and Fara Williams to play a more advanced role in support of Kelly Smith.

The plan was to contain a German side who opened the tournament with 11 unanswered goals against Argentina, whilst still maintaining an attacking edge of their own.

The ploy worked well as England immediately carried the greater threat. Goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, winning her 50th cap for Germany, misjudged a long punt forward from Faye White as she raced out of her area and was lucky to flick the faintest of headers behind for a corner as Kelly Smith closed in.

England
England keeper Rachel Brown and captain Faye White dominate
Even then, the World champions were nearly punished from the corner as White thumped a header wide after rising well.

Karen Carney, switched from her favoured right wing to the left, looked an early threat and it was her glorious cross on 12 minutes which could so easily have produced an opener for England had Katie Chapman been more lively on the edge of the box.

Chapman's frustrating opening continued when she was booked for chopping down Simone Laudehr, ruling her out of England's final group game against Argentina on Monday.

But England continued to boss the game, with Chapman undaunted at the centre of much of their best play as Germany's defence - as yet untested at this tournament - looked shaky at times.

606: DEBATE
Claire S on 606

Fara Williams opened that defence up with a neat pass 10 minutes before half-time but her chipped pass was lobbed wide by Alex Scott; then Williams turned provider again as Kelly Smith just failed to get a touch to her free-kick.

At the other end, Germany threatened only from long range, Melanie Behringer finishing a fancy free-kick routine with a piledriver that flew high over Rachel Brown's bar and left-back Linda Bresonik sending a speculative dipper off target.

But, as the rain started to pour down just before half-time, so Germany began to stream forward. Kerstin Garefrekes sent a header straight at Brown, who then did well to turn a Birgit Prinz cross-shot round her near post as the German striker threatened for the first time.

Following her hat-trick against Argentina, Prinz needed only one more goal to become the all-time leading scorer in World Cups, but she found White and the hugely impressive Asante in defiant mood.

No more so than when England captain White, who missed the whole of last season through injury, threw herself into a tangle with Prinz to prevent the striker from getting a clear strike on goal.

Chapman was forced into similar action to deny Garefrekes a shooting chance as England - with one less recovery day than their rivals - began to visibly tire.

And it took a stunning save from Brown to keep out Garefrekes's snap shot in a crowded area and secure the draw England deserved.



SEE ALSO
A spot of German chasing
13 Sep 07 |  Women


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