Women's World Cup: Japan beat England to reach finals
An injury-time own goal by English defender Laura Bassett put defending champions Japan into the final of the Women's World Cup on Wednesday (July 1).
The Lionesses (England's nickname) went out of the tournament in the most heartbreaking of ways - through an injury-time own goal.
Defender Laura Bassett was attempting a sliding clearance from a low cross, unfortunately, her attempt crashed off the underside of the bar and over the line.
Bassett was in tears after the final whistle and had to be consoled by England coach Mark Sampson as she walked off the field.
Said Sampson: “It’s okay to cry. They left everything on the field.
“Laura Bassett has epitomised this England team this tournament. She has been courageous, strong ... she kept this team together. She didn’t deserve that. She’ll be remembered as a hero.”
England had started the game in rip-roaring fashion when Jodie Taylor fired a 25 yard shot just wide of the Japanese goal in just the first minute of the game.
Japan, however, grabbed the lead through a controversial 33rd min penalty.
Japanese defender Saori Ariyoshi got goal side of England left-back Claire Rafferty who, struggling to catch-up, nudged her in the back and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
Television replays, however, showed the foul had taken place outside of the penalty area but England’s protests were dismissed as Miyami took her time, with a slow and deliberate run-up, and fired home the penalty.
Just seven minutes later though and another debatable penalty award brought England level.
Captain Steph Houghton went down inside the box, possibly after her heel was clipped by Yuki Ogimi, and New Zealand referee Anna-Marie Keighley immediately pointed to the spot and Williams coolly converted.
Japan next play the two-time champions United States, who beat Germany 2-0 in the other semi-final in Montreal, in the final at Vancouver next Sunday (July 5).
The final will be a rematch of the 2011 final in Frankfurt, which Japan won 3-1 on penalties after the game finished 2-2 following extra-time.
The Americans went on to take Olympic gold in 2012 by beating Japan 2-1 in the final.
England now prepare to meet former two-time winners Germany in Saturday’s third-place play-off match in Edmonton.
Source: AFP, Reuters, Reddit