England’s historic journey at the women’s world cup in Canada ended in heartbreak on Wednesday night when the Lionesses lost to holders Japan in the semi-finals in Edmonton.
It was the manner of the defeat that dealt a crushing blow to England players and fans alike.
After Fara Williams’s penalty cancelled out Aya Miyama’s spot-kick the match appeared to be heading for extra time with England in the ascendancy.
But in the second minute of stoppage time Laura Bassett diverted a Japanese cross past goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and into her own goal to send Japan through to a repeat of the 2011 final against the USA.
The Lionesses were the first England team, men or women, to reach the last four of a world cup since 1990 and only the third after the men’s 1966 World cup winning side.
They must now play a third-fourth place play-off against Germany in Edmonton on Saturday while Japan and the US square off in Vancouver on Sunday 16:00 local time, 01:00 CET.