Football: Japan seal Women's World Cup final spot after injury-time winner against England

Saori Ariyoshi and Saki Kumagai of Japan celebrate after the Fifa Women's World Cup semi-final match between Japan and England.
Saori Ariyoshi and Saki Kumagai of Japan celebrate after the Fifa Women's World Cup semi-final match between Japan and England.PHOTO: AFP

EDMONTON (AFP/REUTERS) - A late own-goal by England defender Laura Bassett put defending champions Japan into the final of the Women's World Cup on Wednesday with a 2-1 win.

The tie looked to be heading for extra time with the scores locked at 1-1 after captain Aya Miyama scored a penalty on 33 minutes at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium.

But Fara Williams levelled the match for England five minutes before the break, also from the penalty spot.

England struck the bar twice in the second half and went close with several other opportunities but that counted for nothing after Bassett's mis-hap.

Her attempted sliding clearance after a low cross from Nahomi Kawasumi, crashed off the underside of the bar and over the goal-line two minutes into injury time to end England's dreams of a first final in dramatic fashion.

Bassett was in tears after the final whistle and had to be consoled by England coach Mark Sampson as she walked off the field.

Said Sampson: "It's OK to cry. They left everything on the field.

He added: "Laura Bassett has epitomised this England team this tournament. She has been courageous, strong... she kept this team together. She didn't deserve that. She'll be remembered as a hero."

Japan next play the two-time champions United States, who beat Germany 2-0 in the other semi-final in Montreal, in the final at Vancouver next Sunday.

The final will be a rematch of the 2011 final in Frankfurt, which Japan won 3-1 on penalties after the game finished 2-2 following extra-time.

The Americans went on to take Olympic gold in 2012 by beating Japan 2-1 in the final.

England now prepare to meet former two-time winners Germany in Saturday's third-place play-off match in Edmonton.