England's women have attained legendary status by recording their best ever performance at the World Cup, according to head coach Mark Sampson.
The Lionesses beat old foes Germany 1-0 on Saturday night to claim third place and end the tournament in Canada on a high note. It came after the heartbreak of Wednesday's cruel late semifinal defeat to Japan and capped a month in which Sampson's team repeatedly defied the odds to reach the latter stages.
"In my book, the players have always been legends," he said. "I hope now the rest of the world and the country marks them in their paper as legends of their country."
An extra-time penalty from Fara Williams, who also netted from the spot in the 2-1 loss to Japan, gave England's women a first ever victory over Germany, who outclassed Sampson's side at Wembley last year.
"It was an incredible result for the team. We knew the challenge we faced, not only against a worldclass German side but to bounce back from the blow of the semifinal," he added. "The performance speaks volumes of the players. I'm incredibly proud of them. To achieve the third place, to be the top European team in the tournament and finally beat Germany, is something the players will be remembered for."
Defender Laura Bassett, whose freak own goal cost England in the semi-final, thanked her team-mates for helping her bounce back.
"The only way I could repay them was with a performance,' she said. "It was hard, nerve-wracking and anxious. It was good enough today and that feels good."