England exit Women’s World Cup with injury time OG

File photo: Laura Bassett

ENGLAND failed to qualify for the final of the Women’s World Cup in heartbreaking circumstances after the best performance in the team’s history on Wednesday night. Making it as far as the semi-finals for the first time, an own goal in the dying minutes of injury time ended the dream and sent Japan through to face the USA.
Despite an excellent defensive performance over the 90, Laura Bassett, hassled by two of Japan’s strikers, attempted to clear and sent the ball flying over the head of Karen Bardsley in goal, to make the final score 2-1 to Japan.
England’s heroines had fought tooth and nail throughout the game against a side that enjoyed more possession but weren’t able to turn that into goals. Japan scored first from a penalty, then England pulled it back, also from the spot.
In the second half, England fought back against Japan’s pressure, and extra time was so close, until the final twist left Bassett in tears and Japan on their way to the Vancouver final.
Nevertheless, England’s women earned their nickname ‘Lionesses’ in this tournament, their performance the best of any England squad since the men made the semis of Italia 90. They now go on to meet Germany on Saturday in the third place play-off.

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