In what is being called “an all-time awful gut-punch loss” and “heartbreak on the international level,” England crashed out of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament this week.
A crushing own-goal by England defender Laura Bassett in stoppage time put defending champions Japan into the final of the Women’s World Cup with a 2-1 win.
The game was tied at 1-1 with seconds left and it looked like the match was headed for extra time but then something really tragic happened.
As Japan tried to cross the ball in, English defender Laura Bassett tried to clear it, but inadvertently sent the ball into her net instead.
The team was, understandably, devastated.
“It is heartbreaking," said Mark Sampson, England’s manager stated after the devastating loss. Trying to keep his composure, he added: “Laura Bassett has been courageous, strong, kept this group together, she didn’t deserve that. She’ll be looked upon as hero, the Laura Bassett who headed and blocked.”
“I told the girls it is OK to cry. They left everything on the field, they could not give anymore. I am so proud of them. They have inspired a nation.”
Following the bitter defeat, support started pouring in for England and Bassett on social media.
What a dreadful way to lose! Poor, poor Laura Bassett.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 2, 2015
Oh my word, #ENG. So heartbreaking.— Michael Cummings (@MiguelCominguez) July 2, 2015
Cruel way to get out for the Lionesses. By far the better team in the second half.— Didi Hamann (@DietmarHamann) July 2, 2015
@laurabassett6 hold your head up high, you've become an England hero for so many young kids and that's something to be very proud of— Stephanie Wilkes (@Swilkesy86) July 2, 2015
@laurabassett6 You were an absolute God all tournament and I’m so proud of how well you’ve led the team throughout. Look back with pride ??— Jorge Bronze (@JorgeBronze) July 2, 2015
England now plays for third place vs. Germany, while Japan and the USA face off in the World Cup final.