France reaches Women’s WCup semis after shootout
France beat England 4-3 on penalties in the Women’s World Cup
quarterfinals when England captain Faye White missed the decisive
kick on Saturday.
White’s effort – after Eugenie Le Sommer tied the scores for
France – hit the crossbar to send France through to its first-ever
semifinal against Brazil or the United States next Wednesday.
”It’s very beautiful. Life is great. We worked so hard for
this,” said an emotional France coach Bruno Bini. ”There’s a
certain magic to football.”
The game ended 1-1 after normal time and extra time.
Elise Bussaglia equalized in the 88th minute following Jill
Scott’s 59th-minute goal for England before 26,395 fans at Bay
”Unfortunately, again, England get knocked out on penalties.
How boring is that?” said England coach Hope Powell.
Camille Abily, who took the first spot kick for France, saw her
effort saved by Karen Bardsley, but Bussaglia, Gaetane Thiney and
Sonia Bompastor all scored. Le Sommer put all the pressure on White
after England’s Claire Rafferty drew her shot wide to the
”I’m proud (Faye) had the guts and the nerve to try and get
England to a semifinal. She’s gutted, but that’s football,” said
Powell. ”It could have happened to anybody. Unfortunately, the
game has to end some way.”
Kelly Smith, Karen Carney and Casey Stoney converted England’s
In a game thoroughly dominated by France, Scott fired England
into the lead against the run of play after Smith and Rachel Yankey
combined to set her free.
Scott cut inside to beat two defenders, looked up to see Celine
Deville off her line and unleashed a dipping shot that gave the
goalkeeper – playing in place of the suspended Berangere Sapowicz –
Bussaglia equalized and broke English hearts a first time when
she curled a shot from the edge of the penalty area in off the left
England shouldn’t have been surprised. Its three most recent
matches with France since 2006 have all been draws.
After 30 more minutes of extra time and a fateful penalty
shootout, England’s own bid for history was gone. England was
trying to make its first semifinals, while attempting to overcome a
poor record against France, which it hasn’t beaten in almost 37
”I thought we had a chance with penalties because we’ve been
practising them and Karen’s been saving all of them,” Powell
”You have to give credit to France. They pressed and pressed
and got the equalizer.”
England attacked right from the kickoff when Smith rounded
Deville only for her goalward shot to be cut out by Laura
France recovered from its shaky start with Louisa Necib
displaying wonderful control in the middle of the pitch, before
Abily’s effort landed on the roof of the net.
With fans sending Mexican waves around the stands, Smith earned
a corner that caused more panic in the French defense.
It was but a rare push forward for England, however.
Thiney’s fancy footwork left two defenders standing, before
Marie-Laure Delie had a shot blocked on the edge of the penalty
area. Thiney’s effort was then blocked from a similar position.
England was rushed into conceding possession with France
applying pressure in all areas, and resorted to sending long balls
forward for Ellen White to chase.
Thiney’s thunderous volley brought the best from England ‘keeper
Karen Bardsley in the 25th.
Necib rifled the side-netting shortly afterward, after creating
space for the shot.
Bardsley was relieved to see her attempted clearance whizz over
after it rebounded off Delie’s face in the 36th, before she
deflected Necib’s swinging free kick out for a corner.
A level of frustration began to take hold for France, with
captain Sandrine Soubeyrand, Abily and Thiney all wasting good
”I thought I was at the wrong movie, to have a match with so
many chances but we couldn’t score. … It could have been 3-0. We
didn’t get our reward until the very end,” Bini said.
With Powell looking increasingly worried in the dugout, her side
suddenly put together a few passes before the interval, when
Williams’ close-range shot was blocked out for a corner.
Rachel Yankey shot straight at Deville as England again made the
better start after the break, before Delie’s shot flashed by the
post at the other end.
Scott headed wide from a good position in the 54th, but made no
mistake when she scored four minutes later.
It was desperate defending thereafter from England – Smith made
a goal-saving clearance shortly afterward – as France pushed
forward for the equalizer.
Bardsley’s great one-handed save denied substitute Elodie
Thomis, before Ellen White made a headed goalline clearance.
When the goal came, with two minutes remaining, it was
”We had more chances than the English,” said Abily, who was
voted player of the game despite her penalty miss.
The midfielder revealed she took two penalties at training the
”I missed one and scored one, so I don’t think I’ll be taking
”We are overjoyed,” Bini said. ”I hope we will have more than
just one more match.”
England: Karen Bardsley, Rachel Unitt (Claire Rafferty, 81),
Casey Stoney, Faye White, Alex Scott (Stephanie Houghton, 81), Fara
Williams, Jill Scott, Rachel Yankey (Anita Asante, 84), Kelly
Smith, Karen Carney, Ellen White.
France: Celine Deville, Sonia Bompastor, Sabrina Viguier, Laura
Georges, Laure Lepailleur, Elise Bussaglia, Sandrine Soubeyrand
(Elodie Thomis, 67), Gaetane Thiney, Louisa Necib (Sandrine
Bretigny, 79 (Eugenie Le Sommer, 106), Camille Abily, Marie-Laure
Referee: Jenny Palmqvist, Sweden.