Football: England's Laura Bassett "couldn't breathe" after World Cup own-goal

Laura Bassett (right) being consoled by teammate Jo Potter following their loss to Japan.
Laura Bassett (right) being consoled by teammate Jo Potter following their loss to Japan.PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (GUARDIAN) - Laura Bassett has spoken about the anguish of scoring the stoppage-time own-goal which ended England's hopes of reaching the Women's World Cup final.

"I couldn't breathe, my heart was out of my chest and I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me," she told the BBC , reflecting on that unfortunate intervention against Japan that led to England's 2-1 semi-final defeat.

Her attempted sliding clearance deflected a hopeful-looking cross over stranded goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and crashed off the underside of the bar and over the goal-line two minutes into injury time.

They face Germany in Saturday's third-place play-off, while Japan head to Vancouver for the final against the United States the following day.

Bassett's torment is such that she has been unable to speak to her parents since her unlucky moment.

Said the 31-year-old Notts County defender:"I haven't been able to speak to my mum and dad over FaceTime yet because they will just set me off crying.

"I've messaged them and I know they are so proud but I keep thinking about that moment and I would do anything to change it.

"The hardest thing is looking at other people here who committed themselves to this team - for the first time in a long time everyone believed England could do it. I'd prefer no one to know my name."

The pain is only exacerbated by the reality that Bassett - who England's coach Mark Sampson said will "definitely" start against Germany - had otherwise been one of the stars of the tournament.

She said: "After the game, I was heartbroken, devastated, just uncontrollable, emotional.

"For those people who know me and call me a swinging brick and say I lack emotion, nine out of 10 times I'd agree with that, but something took over and I was out of control. I wanted to get out of there. I wanted to cry and be on my own and bury my head.

"This team never gives up but we didn't have time to pull it back; it was so cruel. It was all a blur. Afterwards I looked round and saw my boyfriend and it set me off crying again."

Nevertheless, Bassett is grateful for the support she has received from Sampson and his staff.

"I know the long hours Mark's staff have worked and the commitment they have given to this dream and to us as players," she said.

"They have been there for me so I want to thank them."