Heartbreak for England as injury-time own goal spells World Cup semi-final exit to defending champions Japan

Japan 2-1 England

Laura Bassett’s injury-time own goal saw England’s World Cup end in heartbreak as they lost in the semi-finals to Japan.

Bassett poked a cross over goalkeeper Karen Bardsley’s head and in off the crossbar two minutes into stoppage time, which was harsh on the Lionesses who matched the defending champions but failed to take their chances.

The sides exchanged penalties in the first half, with Aya Miyami and Fara Williams converting, with Toni Duggan hitting the bar in the second half.

England will now face Germany in the third-place play-off on Saturday while Japan face USA in the final on Sunday.

Chelsea duo Claire Rafferty and Katie Chapman started as England began brightly and almost scored within 35 seconds as forward Jodie Taylor volleyed narrowly wide from 18 yards.

The Japanese quickly established themselves with their crisp passing, but didn’t threathen Karen Bardsley’s goal until the penalty.

Rafferty was caught the wrong side of Saori Ariyoshi and although her trip looked outside the area, the referee gave a penalty that Miyami buried in the bottom-left corner.

But England hit back through a fortuitous penalty of their own as captain Steph Houghton went down in the box after minimal contact, with Williams converting.

After the break, England came close three times in quick succession, first when Duggan hit the crossbar with a fantastic effort from 20 yards.

Substitute Ellen White forced a good save from Ayumi Kaihori two minutes later with a curling shot, before Jill Scott narrowly heading wide from a corner.

Mana Iwabuchi struck just wide of Bardsley’s near post, before Bassett’s outstretched leg deflected in Nahomi Kawasumi’s cross and the centre back broke down in tears at the final whistle.

Feature image courtesy of BBC, with thanks

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