Now England women suffer World Cup penalty agony

England 1 France 1 (aet; France win 4-3 on penalties): France into semi-final after Faye White's miss means Powell's team go familiar way of the men

Of course it ended in tears. England World Cup campaigns invariably do.

Hope Powell's valiant side have spent much of their careers seeking equal status with their male counterparts and last night, perversely, they got it in time-honoured fashion. Just as the men suffered World Cup shoot-out agony in 1990, 1998 and 2006 so did the women in 2011.

And as the dust settled on a tumultuous night, it became clear this was an end of an era as both England coach Hope Powell and her captain Faye White prepared to step aside from the international scene.

Yet it could, perhaps should, have been so different. Powell's team were within three minutes of winning before a French equaliser took the game into extra time.

The Everton midfielder Jill Scott had given England a 58th-minute lead, but Elise Bussaglia brought France level. The Arsenal striker Ellen White missed a good extra time chance to regain the lead, but the match ended 1-1 and the shoot-out was lost when Faye White – with the last kick of the contest – struck the bar to hand France a 4-3 penalty victory.

"Faye is desperately upset," said Powell of the 33-year-old Arsenal central defender, who had stated that this would be her last World Cup and finished it with tears streaming down her face. "That's football," Powell added, "the game has to end some way, and it was the wrong way for us."

Powell knows all about shoot-out misery after being a midfielder in the England team that lost on penalties to Sweden in the 1984 European Championship final.

"This one felt worse," she said. Her players had come so close to securing what would have been the national team's first World Cup semi-final – at the third attempt – but she admitted that she had never felt the game was safe as France pressed in the closing stages.

"It felt very, very tense and I was just trying to wind the clock quicker and quicker, but it wouldn't shift. It's never over until the final whistle and you have to give credit to France. They were the better team in the first half, and although we showed our resilience in the second half they pressed and pressed and finally got the equaliser. We were so desperately unlucky."

There was no denying that France were the better team. England started brightly, the striker Kelly Smith having a goalbound shot turned round the post by the central defender Laura Georges after only 16 seconds.

But Bruno Bini's team quickly gained control, and by the end of extra time the shots-at-goal count, 33-7 in France's favour, told a brutally honest story. The goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, blamed for the goal that led to Mexico sneaking a 1-1 draw in the opening group match, was England's outstanding player with a series of fine saves that kept the French at bay.

The New Jersey Sky Blue keeper kept out good first-half efforts by Gaetane Thiney and Louisa Necib, while Camille Abily also went close and, just after interval, Marie-Laure Delie sent a 10-yard shot inches wide.

When England took the lead it was again the run of play, but it was a fine goal by Scott.

The midfielder dinked a 20-yard shot over Celine Deville after Smith – with the help of an undetected handball – and Rachel Yankey had combined to set up the opening.

As France hit back strongly, Bardsley had to make two excellent stops from Abily. But the save of the match was made by a striker: Ellen White diving to head the right back Laure Lepailleur's 86th minute header off the line.

Powell's team were eventually undone when Bussaglia, collecting a weak clearance 20 yards out, curled a shot in off a post.

Extra time brought few opportunities, though in the 103rd minute Ellen White shot wide when well placed 15 yards from goal. And so to penalties, Bardsley diving to keep out the first one by Abily. But first the substitute Claire Rafferty and then, decisively, White missed to leave England once again losers in a World Cup quarter-final.

England Bardsley (New Jersey Sky Blue); A Scott (Boston Breakers), F White (Arsenal), Stoney (Lincoln), Unitt (Everton); J Scott (Everton), Williams (Everton); Carney (Birmingham City), Smith (Boston Breakers), Yankey (Arsenal); E White (Arsenal). Substitutes Houghton (Arsenal) for A Scott, 81; Rafferty (Chelsea) for Unitt, 81; Asante (NJ Sky Blue) for Yankey, 84.

France Deville; Lepailleur, Georges, Viguier, Bompastor; Soubeyrand (Thomis, 67), Bussaglia; Abily, Necib (Bretigny, 79; Le Sommer, 106), Thiney; Delie.

Referee Ms J Palmqvist (Sweden).

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?