England Women exited the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup with an unlucky and undeserved 2-1 semi-final defeat to holders Japan. They will contest the third place play-offs game on Saturday at 9pm against Germany who lost to the USA 2-0 in the other semi-final.

Aya Miyama opened the score from the penalty spot after Claire Rafferty was adjuged to have fouled a Japanese forward in the penalty area despite the replay showing the foul was made outside the area. Fara Williams also replied from the penalty spot after Steph Houghton’s heel was clipped and she went down to win a penalty for England.

The decisive goal was scored in the last minute of injury time as Japan went on the counter attack on the right wing. Naomi Kawasumi sent a low cross on the edge of the penalty area towards Yuki Ogimi, but Laura Bassett managed to get there first and deflected the ball out the of Ogimi’s way.

Unfortunately, it looped towards the goal, hit the crossbar and went over the line.

Laura Bassett has had a fantastic tournament, she was very consistent and a rock alongside Stephanie Houghton at center back. We all remember the black eye she got after the France game when Camille Abily  elbowed her.  To end her tournament with an own goal is just unfair on a top player and a genuinely liked person.

Mark Sampson has had an excellent tournament coming on as unknown at international level and alongside his huge 20+ backroom staff has created an excellent working environment, contrasting with the previous regime. He has been tactically very astute and managed to make the team able to counter any type of opponent with various challenges faced.

READ MORE:
Southgate explains why Welbeck wasn’t selected for England

Play-off

England only have a short turnaround before the third place play off and have one day’s rest less than Germany. It will be interesting to see if players with little game time like Potter, Sanderson, Stoney, Greenwood, and Alex Scott will be given a game.

The only player who has not seen game time so far is Carly Telford the third choice goalkeeper, and also deserves a game for all her hard work during the tournament.