The Japan vs. England match ended in a devastating upset for the English side, one that will see Japan head to the final to face the United States. It was a tough match that was ultimately decided by a painful defensive error.
The Lionesses hoped to make history at the 2015 Women’s World Cup. It would be the first-ever trip for the England women’s team to the final game, and the first for an England side since the men’s team won a World Cup in 1966.
Team Japan was destined to provide a staunch opposition. The women had drawn comparisons to FC Barcelona thanks to their tight passing styles and ability to control the game for long stretches. It did take Japan about 20 minutes to settle. Once they did, England was mostly reliant on counterattacks to press forward.
— CBC News (@CBCNews) July 2, 2015
Japanese player Aya Miyama scored the first goal of the game following a controversial penalty award. A foul on Saori Ariyoshi in the 31st minute led to the penalty, but some believe she was fouled just outside the box. Despite disagreements with the ref’s decision, it was a 1-0 game.
England was about to tie things up thanks to a penalty awarded nearly 10 minutes later.
The game would stay tied for the rest of regular time, with the expectation that additional time would be added in the England vs. Japan match to decide a victor. Beyond that, there’s the highly stressful penalty shootout. However, none of that would be necessary thanks to a heartbreaking mistake by English defender Laura Bassett.
Basset attempted to clear the ball in the 92nd minute of game time. Instead, she accidentally knocked it into the net, leading to an own goal. The game would end 2-1 a short while later. The England women’s team and their fans were left devastated and bewildered by what had happened.
When asked about the loss after the game, England coach Mark Sampson said his team “couldn’t have given more” and offered praise for Bassett, who was visibly inconsolable after the match ended. Many agree the Japan vs. England was a harsh outcome for England, but it was a dream come true for Japan.
— Indy Football (@IndyFootball) July 2, 2015
The Japan vs. United States match will be a rematch of sorts between the two teams. It was Japan who emerged victorious when the two sides met in the 2011 World Cup final.
It is set to be a final to remember, one that will hopefully be free of controversy and cringeworthy own goals.
[Image Credit: Todd Korol / Getty Images]