Japan reach Women's World Cup final, England players 'heartbroken' after 'cruel' loss

EDMONTON: England left Commonwealth Stadium in a state of shock on Wednesday after an injury time own goal condemned them to a 2-1 Women's World Cup semi-final loss to Japan.

Laura Bassett's attempted sliding clearance ricocheted off the underside of the cross-bar and into the goal area in the second minute of injury time after England had struck the bar themselves twice and created a series of good chances in the second half.

"It is heartbreaking to go out in the last minute after a good performance where we ran ourselves into the ground," said midfielder Jill Scott. "We couldn't have given anymore, but football is a cruel game sometimes,"

Japan coach Norio Sasaki had said before the game that his players were 'superior' to England but the defending world champions were never able to get into their rhythm as the Lionesses harried them across the field restricting their normally fluid passing game.

"I think he said they were technically better than us and pass the ball better than us and to be fair we had to agree," said Scott.

"We had to come up with a plan to stifle their play because we know they are like the Barcelona of the women's game and I think we did that well.

"We created chances, we were very physical with them and I think when you look back on the game I don't think we deserved to go out in the 90th minute.

"Its hard to remember the parts of that game but I do remember us hitting the bar a couple of times, I had a header that was a couple of inches wide but that's football it is fine line between error and success."

Team-mate Fara Williams said it was telling that the Japanese goal had come from an unlikely own goal.

Japan move on to face the United States in the final on Sunday in Vancouver while England will have to regroup for a third place match against top-ranked Germany on Saturday in Edmonton.

"I believe the only thing that was going to get them a goal in the second half was that, a freakish goal, I couldn't see them scoring any other way, apart from taking us to penalties if we didn't score," she said.

"I think they will know they were in a tough game, probably the toughest they have had in the tournament. (Editing by Steve Keating.)