England's Women #Football team was defeated in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday night, due to Laura Bassett's injury time own-goal that ensured Japan's passage into Sunday's final. The Nadeshiko, who are currently the World Cup holders, will now face United States in Vancouver, whilst England will meet Germany in Saturday's third-place play-off in Edmonton.
Although England had a chance to score in the first-minute of the game, with Jodie Taylor's strike which was only inches wide of the post, Japan soon found their usual rhythm and dominated position in the first half. They played their fast passing and took a lead in the 32nd minute, when Captain Aya Miyama scored from the spot; England were punished when Saori Ariyoshi was felled by Chelsea's Claire Rafferty.
But eight minutes later Liverpool midfielder Fara Williams' penalty kick cancelled out the Nadeshiko's lead and the first half finished 1-1.
Mark Sampson's side were refreshed from the equaliser, and were on the front foot after the break, as they enjoyed a period of supremacy and twice had a chance to score. England looked as though they were ready to take the Nadeshiko to extra-time.
However, in the second minute of stoppage time Notts County defender Bassett mis-hit a Japanese cross, which was intended to be cleared; the ball went over goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, hit the bar first but then crossed the line to give Japan a 2-1 semi-final triumph. The Lionesses were devastated, as there was barely enough time to muster another attack; the goal scorer Bassett burst into tears at the final whistle, while her team-mates were inconsolable.
Despite the harsh defeat, Sampson is optimistic about the team's achievements, as the Lionesses had already made history by reaching the semi-finals for the first time. Before the match, the team received a phone call from Prince William, who in his role as President of England Football Association wished them luck.
While preparing his side for the Saturday play-off, the coach hopes that his players' accomplishments will inspire a generation of young girl to take up the sport.