Japan into final after England injury time own goal
By Simon Evans
EDMONTON (Reuters) - An injury time own goal from England defender Laura Bassett put Japan into the World Cup final with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday, setting up a title rematch with the United States.
The U.S., who lost the 2011 final to the Japan on penalties, booked their ticket to Sunday's championship game in Vancouver with a 2-0 win over top ranked Germany on Tuesday.
Bassett’s attempted sliding clearance from a low cross, crashed off the underside of the bar and over the goal-line to end England’s dreams of a first final in the cruelest of fashions.
"It is heartbreaking to go out in the last minute after a good performance where we ran ourselves into the ground," said ,” said England midfielder Jill Scott. "We couldn’t have given anymore, but football is a cruel game sometimes."
The teams had been set for extra-time after sharing two controversial first half penalties - Aya Miyama’s 33rd minute spot-kick being canceled out by Fara Williams’ penalty seven minutes later.
England, playing in their first ever Women’s World Cup semi-final, struck the bar twice in the second half and went close with several other opportunities but that counted for nothing after Bassett’s mishap which left her distraught.
Defending champions Japan again left their victory late - their quarter-final win over Australia had come with an 87th minute winner.
While England was left devastated, Japan coach Norio Sasaki told reporters his team deserved to win because they had been willing to risk defeat by pushing forward in the dying moments. Continued...