England opened their campaign with a 2-1 victory over second-ranked Argentina on Saturday but were beaten 3-0 by the Dutch, who are also the world champions, on Sunday. England's next match is against China on Thursday.
England's game with Germany was goalless when Germany's Tina Bachmann rounded Crista Cullen before slipping the ball past goalkeeper Beth Storry for what appeared to be the opening goal.
But the effort was ruled out when the video umpire adjudged Germany's Nina Hasselmann had placed both feet on the pitch when firing in a penalty corner in the build-up.
England made the most of their reprieve when Richardson dived in to steer the ball home at the back post following a penalty corner.
England 'had belief' says skipper Walsh
With 10 minutes remaining Germany pulled level through Natascha Keller but England mounted an immediate response, winning a penalty corner that Richardson slotted home at the back post to secure the victory.
England head coach Danny Kerry said the decision to refer penalty corners had been discussed before the match.
"It [the penalty corner taker's foot being in the field of play] was actually brought up by one of the players in a team meeting," he said.
"The players are encouraged to do some analysis and we discussed it in that meeting for some time. I understand [Germany head coach] Michael Behrmann's disappointment but I thought the referrals were good decisions."
England captain Kate Walsh echoed Kerry's sentiments: "We had seen it before," she said. "We saw the foot as we were lining up and knew we would refer it if we needed to. I know [Germany captain] Tina [Bachmann] is disappointed and she says that it's a small thing but at this level it's the small things that matter."
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