England boss Sarina Wiegman said she felt her team were “growing really fast” after they beat Germany 3-1 at Molineux to win the Arnold Clark Cup.
After Ellen White’s 15th-minute opener for the Lionesses was cancelled out by an excellent Lina Magull free-kick just prior to the break, England struck twice more late on through Millie Bright in the 84th minute and then Fran Kirby in stoppage time.
The result, following draws against Canada (1-1) and Spain (0-0), sees hosts England finish ahead of the latter on goal difference at the top of the new invitational tournament’s final table.
What was England’s seventh win in nine matches and they are unbeaten since Wiegman took charge last September. Ut was also only their second victory over Germany – ranked five places above them at third in the world – in 26 meetings, and first in a home match.
Wiegman, whose side’s Euros campaign on home soil begins on July 6, said in her post-match press conference: “Of course it’s really nice to win a tournament, and you always want to win every game.
“The tournament has been great. I think we expected three top-level opponents and we did get that. We wanted to develop our style of play, to get to know about ourselves more, what options we have within our team, try different players in different positions. We did that, and I think then it’s really nice to finish with a 3-1 win.
“I think what we have shown and how we have developed this week and what we have seen from our team, and different players, that’s really good. We can continue from there. The other teams develop too.
“It’s just really good to see today how we won, because we didn’t play a great match. I think we played better against Spain.
“Germany is very tough, very powerful, had a lot of speed up front and we were not tight enough on the ball. But then still we scored three goals.
“I think we showed resilience. Even though we had a hard time keeping the ball long in possession, we changed a little bit, and you see this teamwork and effort to really get that goal to win. That’s very satisfying.
“What we’ve shown ourselves is we can win against any opponent, but it’s really tight. I think we have done a great job and as a team we are growing really fast.”
‘This is a step towards the Euros’
Asked if the biggest task was trying to keep a lid on expectations created by winning the cup, Wiegman said: “Not for us as a team and staff because we said this is a step towards the Euros and we will stay neutral.
“This was successful, we are growing very much but we know the opponents in the Euros are going to be so good too. I think there are five, six, maybe even more countries that can win the Euros.”
Germany boss Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, whose side ended up bottom of the four-team tournament having also drawn 1-1 with Spain and lost 1-0 to Canada, said: “It was very annoying to have lost here tonight. It was totally unnecessary.
“We were not necessarily the worst team here. I think that we did things quite well for quite a bit of the game. We did have our chances and we could have taken the lead, and at 1-1 if you don’t score yourself, then at least you have
to get out of the game with a draw.
“Instead we conceded that goal for 2-1 that was way too easily conceded, and then the 3-1 was just at the end when we tried to score and then were not really in good shape at the back. But in general I am very happy with how my team played.”