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GERMANY'S women continued their remarkable record of never having lost an indoor international when they won their seventh successive European Nations Cup at Crystal Palace yesterday beating England 8-3 in an exciting final.
For England, their first indoor silver medal was a disappointing end to three days of controlled play but, with limited opportunities to train, they were unable to beat a German team who arrived well prepared after two and a half months of national indoor league competition.
A match between England and Germany is always a special sporting occasion and this European final was no exception from the moment Sandie Lister, England's outstanding player throughout the tournament, put them ahead in the second minute. Within a minute, however, Germany's Britta Becker was to score the first of her four goals.
The game developed into a similar pattern to the contest between the two teams in their final pool game which the Germans won 7-2. England, with Jo Thompson in goal, defended stubbornly until, two minutes before the break, Becker struck again to give the Germans a 2-1 interval lead.
Within a minute of the restart Lister burst through the German defence to give her captain, Lynn Bollington, an equalising goal but it was quickly followed by two strikes from Germany's Anke Wild to put the champions back in the driving seat.
Becker scored from a couple of corners to extend Germany's lead to 6-2, the signal for England's Maggie Souyave to replace her goalkeeper with Sam Wright in a last, desperate attempt to find a way back into the game.
It was not to be. Germany scored two more goals through Philippa Suxdorf and Tanja Dickenscheid and Lister rounded off a superb weekend's performance with another for England to complete the scoreline.
In the semi-finals England had beaten Spain 8-4 with Bollington scoring three times while Germany overcame Scotland 6-3. Scotland lost the bronze medal game to Spain 6-4 in spite of an outstanding performance from their captain, Wendy Fraser who, along with Becker, Lister, Thompson and Spain's Silvia Manrique, made this tournament something special.
ENGLAND: J Thompson (Ipswich), C Reid, J Crook, F Lee, L Marsden (all Hightown), S Lister (Ipswich), S Wright, S Chandler (both Slough), L Bollington (capt), J Smith, C Harvie (all Chelmsford), M Nicholls (Ealing).
GERMANY: B Weiss, A Schmidt, B Becker, P Suxdorf, E Hagenbaumer, T Dickenscheid, F Hentschel, M Cremer, A Wild, I Kuhnt, S Muller, K Peters.
Umpires: C Asselman (Belgium) and A Lario Ruiz (Spain).
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