The Independent London Newspaper

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Women's Football: World Cup - England 1, France 1 - France win 4-3 on penalties

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AN agonising penalty shoot-out defeat by France sent England crashing out of the Women’s World Cup on Saturday in a game watched by more than 3.3 million viewers.

Missed spot kicks by captain Faye White and Chelsea defender Claire Rafferty proved fatal as France held their nerve to win 4-3 on penalties.

In the aftermath of defeat, England boss Hope Powell reportedly questioned the bravery of the players in her squad who didn’t put themselves forward as penalty takers. But there were only words of praise for 33-year-old Arsenal skipper White, whom Powell first made England captain in July 2002.  

“It showed magnificent character that she stepped up to take a penalty,” Powell said. “I have nothing but admiration for her.”

England had looked on course to beat France until Elise Bussaglia cancelled out Jill Scott’s 59th minute opener with barely two minutes remaining.

With White and striker Kelly Smith both struggling with injuries and all three substitutes already on the pitch, England had to limp through extra time.

Amazingly, White and former Gunner Smith, who could barely walk after the final whistle, volunteered to take spot kicks in the dreaded shoot-out that followed.

Smith duly belted the ball home as did ex-Gunners Casey Stoney and Karen Carney. But defenders White and Rafferty were less fortunate and their spot kick misses saw France book a semi-final date against USA.

Published: 14 July, 2011
by CATHERINE ETOE 

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