The penultimate day of the 2015 FIFA World Cup played out on Saturday, a fitting warm-up for Sunday's festivities, as old foes England and Germany met in the Third-placed match in Edmonton, Alberta.
England reached this stage after falling to Japan in the semifinals by the cruelest of circumstances, that own-goal from Laura Bassett in stoppage-time was decisive, handing Japan a 2-1 win and a ticket to the final.
Germany too found themselves in Saturday's consolation final with a grievance, as a poor penalty call led to the American's game-winner in their semifinal, though no one could say that the Germans deserved to move on by their play on that day.
The match to determine the tournament's other podium place is always a bit of a damp squib, or at least has the potential to be, but given the good-spirited competition between the two nations, they both came to play.
With a day's extra rest under their belts, it was the Germans who found the better of the early chances. English keeper Karen Bardsley had to get down quick to push a header wide and then Steph Houghton needed to be sharp to clear a near-own-goal off the goal-line when Bardsley and Jo Potter got their signals crossed, colliding as they went for the same ball, popping the clearance towards their own net. Fortunately, skipper Houghton was on hand to provide the required cover.
The second half began in the same spirit, Bardsley tested by a well-struck volley from Sara Daebritz, pushing the attempt around the post.
But then, something changed. Perhaps tiredness crept into the legs of die Nationalelf, or maybe it was that fighting spirit that the Three Lionesses have shown all month long kicking in.
Regardless, a goal-mouth scramble after an English counter came to nothing – the near coup-de-grace came when Jill Scott could not quite reach a right-sided cross from Karen Carney. English cries for a penalty, claiming Scott had been held back, fell on deaf ears and regular time would end with the match still tied 0-0.
England would get their chance in the 108th minute when Lianne Sanderson turned on German defender, Tabea Kemme, to chase a bouncing ball down the right-side of the area. Sanderson was hauled to the ground, prompting the referee to award the penalty kick, and Fara Williams courageously stepped to the spot with her nation's hopes riding on her shoulders.
Williams calmly dispatched the kick, placing her right-footer low to Nadine Angerer's right before wheeling towards her coach and teammates on the touch-line in celebration.
For once, it is England who beat Germany on the strength of a spot kick – bizarro world indeed.
Having already bested their past quarterfinal appearances, England would return home as heroes, as contented with a Third-placed finish as a side could be. Germany, on the other hand, will be disappointed with how their last two matches turned out. Entering the competition they were touted as potential-champions, after a strong group stage they looked even better, but perhaps they peaked too soon.
Just one match remains to be played before Canada 2015 enters the history books, the final, a rematch of the last one, between the USA and Japan. Japan would need penalty kicks after 120 minutes of football to decide the winner in that encounter, but how this year's meeting in Vancouver will play out remains to be seen.
Will the Americans find the form that saw them past Germany, or will Japan, the only unbeaten team, win another match by a one-goal difference?
Either way, should be a good one. Enjoy!