England lost in the absolutely worst, most heartbreaking way imaginable today by losing via an own goal in the 92nd minute. Japan won 2-1 and advanced as a result and will face the United States in a 2011 Women’s World Cup Final rematch on Sunday starting at 6 PM ET on FOX.
Laura Bassett tried to clear the ball in the final minute of play and mishit the ball. That mistake went into the top corner of the goal and after confirming with goal line technology, the rest sadly is history for England.
It’s tough to go through something like that. To wait and prepare for four years, to defy the odds and get farther than you thought you would be, to stare down the defending champions and get a chance to win, just to lose like that; that is something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. The reaction by England Manager Mark Sampson and Bassett’s teammates showed that Bassett isn’t going to be made a scapegoat and take this on alone. The team stayed with her and defended her and that is the kind of heart and understanding a team needs to have to get out of something like this even stronger.
While they lost, I hope in the coming days and weeks, England realizes what they did was special. For a country to not really pay attention to women’s soccer to getting people like the Duke of Cambridge wish them luck and the game being on BBC 1, they made tremendous strides in women’s soccer in England. The performance England put on this month will have a lasting effect on their women’s soccer program for years to come. No doubt, there were many inspired girls and women watching that team over in England wanting to be out there.