The opeining 10-15 minutes saw Germany looking confident and dominating. They had opportunities in the box within minutes of the opening whistle. In contrast, England did not look so good. They were able to keep Germany off the scoreboard, but they just weren't smooth or organized -- they didn't look like the team who had deserved to win over Japan. Until, that is, they settled down. About fifteen minutes into the match, England settled down and we were in for a good tight game. Something about the English play made it seem like they wanted it more.
Germany was more precise and better at putting together the passes and combinations, but England were putting themselves out there in a way Germany wasn't. Nevertheless, the game was end to end and relatively evenly matched, with the Germans looking perhaps a bit stronger. They went into half time 0-0.
The came out of half time with renewed energy and Germany looked particularly dangerous. They threatened the English goal, regularly, but without success; England had fewer opportunities. In the 75th minute we saw perhaps the best opportunity of the game with Jill Scott pulling Nadine Angerer out of the box, but somehow the ball went backwards instead of into the goal. It had looked so promising.
The battle continued and the final whistle blew on a game still tied at 0-0! Into overtime.
The frenzied battle continued throughout the first 15-minute period with neither team successfully creating a threatening attack. Then we went into the second overtime. I did not want to see this game end in PK's. Both teams deserved better.
And then...it happened: Leanne Sanderson (former Boston Breaker) in the box; Tabbe Kemme appeared to have her around around Sanderson as she went down; was it? could it be? Holding in the box? Well, the referee did call it, awarding a PK to the English. The replay we could see on television was interesting. While still standing, it was pretty clear that Sanderson had grabbed Kemme. It was equally clear that Kemme did hold Sanderson, but it was almost as if Sanderson made it happen. I think without the replay, the call was completely valid; with the replay, it was much tougher to decide. I wouldn't say it was the wrong call, but I can't exactly say it was the right call either. I wonder if soccer will ever use instant reply to rule on these things?
Anyway, Fara Williams stepped up to the line and nailed it.
The rest is history. Germany lost a stunning two in a row; England had their best finish ever; this fan was exhausted!