The England Women's National Team look poised to take the defending Women's World Cup champions, Japan, to extra time for a shot at the tournament final but fell victim to an unlucky break as Japan advanced to its second consecutive final by virtue of a late own goal in a 2-1 win for Japan.
Thorns FC forward Jodie Taylor, riding high from her first ever Women's World Cup goal in the quarterfinal round against Canada, nearly put England in front early in the first minute. In her second consecutive start of the tournament, Taylor turned and touched the ball over a Japanese defender before hitting a half volley out of the air as she rifled a shot that skipped just wide of the left post from distance.
Taylor played 60 minutes in the match and was on the field for fireworks as both teams tallied goals via the penalty spot. First, Japan in the 33rd minute. Aya Miyama converted from the spot after Saori Ariyoshi was knocked down near the edge of the box by Claire Rafferty in the 31st minute. England would be the beneficiary of a penalty call in the 40th minute. This time it was England captain Steph Houghton who appeared to be pulled down in the box and Fara Williams stepped up an scored to level the match.
England saw several chances just miss in the second half, including a Toni Duggan's attempt in the 62nd minute that rattled the crossbar and Jill Scott's header off a corner kick in the 66th minute that just missed wide from inside 10 yards.
In a last attempt to create an attack with time winding down in second-half stoppage time Laura Bassett attempted to clear one final ball by the Japanase and accidentally kicked the ball into the back of her own net just seconds to send Japan on to the final.
Teammates in Portland will face off one final time in the tournament as Taylor and England take on Nadine Angerer and Germany in the third-place match on Saturday, July 4, at 1 p.m. (Pacific) on FOX.