England Ladies suffered last-gasp heartache in their Women’s World Cup semi-final last night, leaving skipper Steph Houghton speechless.
Laura Bassett’s devastating own goal in stoppage time handed Japan a 2-1 victory, and a final date with the United States, leaving the England squad suffering the cruellest exit possible.
Japan led with Miyami’s 32nd-minute penalty, only for Fara Williams to level from the spot before half-time.
England had more of the ball, and 11 shots to their opponents’ four, but Bassett, in trying to clear, sent the ball spinning in off the bar, past helpless keeper Karen Bardsley.
Skipper Houghton, from South Hetton, said: “I have no words to describe it, the only thing I have to say is that I am so proud of all the girls and staff.
“We’ve had an amazing journey but that’s football, it can be cruel sometimes but we have to try and pick ourselves up and play Germany on Saturday (in the third-place play-off).
“These are a bunch of girls that give everything for the jersey and are great people. We want to take that into the game on Saturday. We have tried to perform and get to the World Cup final that we wanted, but it just wasn’t to be today.”