English defender Laura Bassett describes the realisation she had scored an injury-time own-goal to send Japan to the Women’s World Cup final as an “horrendous feeling”.
EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA (JULY 1, 2015) (ERICH SCHLEGEL-USA TODAY SPORTS) – England defender Laura Bassett said on Friday (July 3) that her heart sank when she realised she had scored an injury-time own-goal to put Japan into the women’s World Cup final.
England and Japan had been set for extra time during their semi-final match on Wednesday (July 1), after sharing two controversial first-half penalties – Aya Miyama’s 33rd minute spot kick being cancelled out by Fara Williams’ penalty seven minutes later.
However 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 cruellest of fashions.
“I knew I’d obviously got contact on the ball and that was my aim to do that. And then I just remember Steph (Houghton) clearing it off the line and kind of everyone regrouping. I think maybe if it hadn’t have been for goalline technology, I heard someone shout “great clearance” which made me think that it wasn’t a goal. But like you say, obviously because of the ref’s watch vibrating, it was a goal. It just hurt so much, my heart sank and it was just the most horrendous feeling,” said Bassett during an interview in Edmonton, Canada on Friday.
England, playing in their first 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.
“There’s not a moment that goes by that I don’t replay that moment and obviously just talking about it brings back all the emotions still, it’s still really raw. Seeing everybody, the look in everybody’s face, when I see families, it just reminds me that our dream of winning this World Cup and getting to a final and winning it, is over,” she said, adding “I’d do anything to take that moment away.”
But despite the heartbreak, Bassett said she had been warmed by the support she had received from English fans.
“I’d prefer no-one to know Laura Bassett’s name. I’d prefer everyone to know Mark Sampson and Steph Houghton for lifting that trophy. I wouldn’t want anyone to know my name. But in the circumstances that they do I’m just so thankful that the country really is supporting me and the Lionesses and our journey. We came out here to win the World Cup, unfortunately that dreams over but we came out here to inspire a nation, inspire people,” said Bassett, adding “Everyone’s fought their journey and this is who we are as people, we just love putting on the England shirt, playing for our country and everything that represents us as a small island, as England, and we love doing that time and time again and the fact that people have fell in love with us has just been absolutely brilliant.”
Japan will face the United States in Sunday’s (July 5) championship game in Vancouver, while England face Germany in the third place match on Saturday (July 4).