JAPAN WOMEN

2 : 1

ENGLAND WOMEN

Miyama (32′) (PEN)

 

Williams (40′)(PEN)

Bassett (90′)(OG)

The Lionesses were attempting to reach their first World Cup final and only England’s second after the men’s team’s victory in 1966.

The full match higlights is embeded here:

But a freak own goal from Laura Bassett in injury time sent England crashing out of the Women’s World Cup to Japan on Thursday morning. 

In a controversial first half both sides traded penalties before England took the game to the reigning world champions in the second 45, hitting the crossbar twice with the score at 1-1. 

They looked on course to take the Olympic silver medallists to extra time after Fara Williams’s penalty cancelled out Aya Miyama’s spot-kick.

But as the game entered a second minute of stoppage time, Bassett diverted a rare Japanese cross over goalkeeper Karen Bardsley’s head, the ball hitting the crossbar and agonisingly bouncing over the line.

There was barely time for England to respond and Notts County defender Bassett burst into tears at the final whistle as her team-mates sank to the turf.

England began brightly and Jodie Taylor was unfortunate to see a fierce snapshot whizz just past the far post from a similar position as her matchwinning goal against Canada. 

Japan, the heavy favourites, initially showed little to worry Sampson’s side but a moment of panic from Claire Rafferty led to a penalty for Norio Sasaki’s team. 

Replays showed the decision to award a penalty was dubious, with the push on Saori Ariyoshi occurring just outside of the box but it mattered little as Aya Miyami converted emphatically.

Despite falling behind, England responded positively and their strength from set-pieces told as Steph Houghton pounced on a loose ball and drew a foul in the box. Again, the decision was debatable but it gave Fara Williams the chance to level the scores. 

The Liverpool midfielder remained just as cool as her counterpart, firing the spot-kick low into the bottom right corner.

The half-time break gave both sides the chance to take stock but it was the Lionesses who emerged the more positive side. 

And after 60 minutes, with Taylor’s race run, Duggan moved into a more central position and the Manchester City star rattled the crossbar with a crisp strike from the edge of the box. 

The Lionesses were clearly growing in confidence and substitute Ellen White was the next to go close, drawing Ayumi Kaihori into a smart full-length save for a corner.

And it was a corner that saw England almost double their lead as Jill Scott’s powerful header slid just wide of the far post.

With the underdogs on top Rafferty saw her high, lofted cross drop onto Kaihori’s bar and even a raft of substitutions couldn’t stop the English momentum. 

But it was to end in disaster as a Japanese break in the 92nd minute led to a four-on-four counter and a devilish cross that required intervention from Bassett.

The half-time break gave both sides the chance to take stock but it was the Lionesses who emerged the more positive side. 

This sees Japan through to the final of the World Cup on a replay of 2011 World Cup Final against USA.

After making history by reaching the semi-finals for the first time, the manner of the defeat was cruel on Mark Sampson’s side, who missed three good chances around the hour mark.

Kelly Simmons – the Football Association’s director of women’s football – said before the game that the tournament had led England to “fall in love with the Lionesses”.

Japan will prepare to face United States in a repeat of the 2011 final, which the Japanese won on penalties.

England, meanwhile, will face Germany in Saturday’s third-place play-off.

Japan XI:

18 Kaihori

19 Ariyoshi

03 Iwashimizu

04 Kumagai

05 Sameshima

09 Kawasumi

06 Sakaguchi

13 Utsugi

08 Miyama

17 Ogimi (Booked)

11 Ohno (Iwabuchi – 70′)

England XI:

01 Bardsley

12 Bronze (Scott – 75′)

05 Houghton

06 Bassett

03 Rafferty (Booked)

11 Moore

04 Williams (Carney – 85′)

16 Chapman

08 Scott

19 Taylor (White – 60′)

18 Duggan

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    Snehanjan Banerjee closely follows English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A along with other world football events.

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