Last-Minute England Own Goal Sends Japan to Women's World Cup Final

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An own-goal by England’s Laura Bassett in the game’s closing minutes gave defending champion Japan a 2-1 victory Wednesday night in a Women’s World Cup soccer semifinal, setting up a championship match against the U.S..

An own-goal by England’s Laura Bassett in the game’s closing minutes gave defending champion Japan a 2-1 victory Wednesday night in a Women’s World Cup soccer semifinal, setting up a championship match against the U.S.

The final, set for Sunday in Vancouver, is a rematch of the 2011 championship match in which Japan defeated the Americans in a penalty shootout for the title.

“Our goal was to go to the final, and in that sense the players did what they had to do,” Japanese coach Norio Sasaki told reporters through a translator.

After each team scored in the first half on a penalty kick -- by Japan’s Aya Miyama in the 32nd minute and England’s Fara Williams in the 40th -- the game in Edmonton, Alberta, remained scoreless until extra time after the second half.

In the 92nd minute, Japan’s Nahomi Kawasumi sent a cross into the penalty area and Bassett deflected the ball off the post and in -- a goal confirmed by the new goal-line technology.

England coach Mark Sampson said Bassett, a defender, had no reason to feel responsible for the loss.

“She’s epitomized all the values that English football fans want to see in that white jersey when you have three lions on your chest,” Sampson said. “Pride, passion, never-say-die and play for the team.”

Fourth-ranked Japan has won nine consecutive World Cup games. The second-ranked U.S. has not allowed a goal in its last 513 minutes in the World Cup.

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