Bronze and England go for bronze

Lucy Bronze was emotional after England's semi-final defeat to Japan.
Lucy Bronze was emotional after England's semi-final defeat to Japan.

Alnwick’s Lucy Bronze is in the starting 11 tonight as England go for bronze in the World Cup third-place play-off against Germany.

The clash, against a side which has been European champions six times in a row and whom the Lionesses have never beaten in 20 meetings, kicks off at 9pm BST and is live on BBC Three.

Bronze, 23, was taken off in the 74th minute of the semi-final defeat by Japan after suffering an injury. The match was to end in late heartache for the Lionesses, who were knocked out by a freak Laura Bassett own-goal in the 92nd minute.

But the former Duchess’s Community High School pupil and Alnwick Town Junior has been recognised for her performances as an individual, being named in the shortlist for the Golden Ball – the award given to the best player at the Women’s World Cup.

The Manchester City defender scored two crucial goals in the knock-out stage, with a screamer against Norway in the last-16, before a header against hosts Canada in the quarter-final.

On Thursday, an emotional Bronze admitted that the nature of the defeat would hurt for a long time, but has since said the adidas Golden Ball nomination has left her speechless, especially as she is the only England player to make the list.

The other shortlisted players are Saori Ariyoshi (Japan), Amandine Henry (France), Julie Johnston (USA), Carli Lloyd (USA), Aya Miyama (Japan), Megan Rapinoe (USA) and Celia Sasic (Germany). The winner, as well as a second and third-placed player, will be announced after the final on Sunday between Japan and the USA (00:00 BST, Monday).