England striker Jodie Taylor has not forgotten the humiliation of losing to Germany at Wembley five years ago and says victory in the rematch will be a matter of revenge, writes Tom Dean.
The last and only time the Lionesses played at the national stadium they were beaten 3-0 by the Germans in front of a record 45,000 fans back in November 2014.
Taylor was introduced in the 80th minute of that game by Mark Sampson and could do very little to affect the scoreline against the then-World Cup holders.
This time there will be a sold-out 90,000 in attendance and despite a faltering World Cup performance in the summer, Germany have risen back up to second in the world rankings, three places above Phil Neville’s side but Taylor thinks the fixture will be far more evenly matched this time around.
“It was the first time we had played at Wembley and it was incredibly disappointing, in front of so many fans as well, but it was a huge lesson,” said the 33-year-old.
“We were 3-0 down at half time and at that moment in time there was a gulf between Germany, as the best team in the world, and us.
“It will be a bit of a revenge-match this time around and it is so good for the women’s game to be playing at such a big stadium, and as a player that is all you really want.
“This is such an exciting time for the women’s game and now it is just up to us to put on a good show.”
The disappointment of losing to bitter rivals has clearly stuck with Taylor but the experienced striker also believes that the defeat was beneficial for the Lionesses in the long-run.
Taylor scored in the 2-1 quarter-final win over hosts Canada but was an unused substitute in the third-place play-off against Germany, which England won 1-0 to seal their best finish at a World Cup final.
“I think that game ultimately changed a lot for us, we were eight months away from the World Cup and from there things began to get more positive,” she added.
“Defeats like that help you to grow so the memories are very bitter-sweet but we have come so far since then and I can’t wait for that test again so we can show that.”
The Birkenhead-born striker was somewhat of a late bloomer and did not make her international debut until 2014 at the ripe age of 28 at which time she was a Washington Spirit player.
In fact, a brief stint at Arsenal during the 2016/2017 season has been Taylor’s only club on home soil while she has been an international representative.
Contrary to the men's squad, Neville’s squad is full of overseas players with Lucy Bronze, Alex Greenwood and Nikita Parris all plying their trade for Lyon in France while Rachel Daly makes the same transatlantic journey as Taylor from her club, Houston Dash.
But those long-haul flights are not about to put a now Seattle-based Taylor off pulling on the shirt of the country she loves playing for yet.
“I am always here and available to play for my country and the aim will always be to score goals,” added the Reign FC striker.
“Playing over in the USA and flying over for camps is of course a bit of a challenge but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“The level of competition in America is very high and that makes me realise even more that I love the challenges off this sport.
“If I didn’t want to be here, I think it would be easy to say I don’t want to come over anymore, but I love playing for England and that won’t change any time soon.
“They will probably have to kick me out of the squad when I can’t run anymore - but I hope that is not for a while yet.”
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