Women's World Cup: England 1-1 France (France win 4-3 on pens)

By Chris BevanBBC Sport

England's women are out of the World Cup after losing a dramatic quarter-final on penalties to France.

Karen Bardsley's save from Camille Abily put England on top in the shoot-out but Claire Rafferty and Faye White both missed to send the French through.

France had dominated for long periods of normal time but Jill Scott fired England ahead against the run of play.

Hope Powell's side were three minutes away from a place in the last four when Elise Bussaglia forced extra-time.

Instead England slipped to an agonising defeat and it is France who will progress to face either the United States or Brazil in their semi-final on Wednesday.

A disappointed Powell told the BBC: "It was a gallant effort and there were some really tired legs out there today. Our games have been tough and we were dead on our feet at the end.

"I am very proud of my players. They did their very best to take it to the wire. Unfortunately when it came down to penalties, you just had to applaud France."

Both sides looked tired in extra-time, and Kelly Smith was virtually a passenger because of injury, but both wasted chances to win it, with Ellen White firing wide when through on goal and Eugenie Le Sommer off target with a back-post header.

That meant penalties, and again England were initially on top when Bardsley sprang to her right to deny Abily from France's first effort.

Smith, Karen Carney and Casey Stoney all scored to leave England 3-2 up, but Claire Rafferty dragged her effort wide and France were able to begin their celebrations when Faye White slammed her spot-kick against the bar.

France had created most of the chances during the 90 minutes, although England had started the brighter, with Smith rounding France keeper Celine Deville after just 15 seconds, only to see her shot blocked by Laura Georges.

Bruno Bini's side soon settled, though, and began passing the ball fluidly, with Abily particularly influential down the right wing.

The French also started to pepper Bardsley's goal with shots from distance, with their best effort a Gaetane Thiney snap-shot from the edge of the area that forced a diving save from the England keeper.

England, with Ellen White looking isolated up front, were struggling to make an impact with their more direct approach and they had more defending to do before half-time.

Louisa Necib went close after a corner was half-cleared, while Sandrine Soubeyrand fired wide and Abily saw another effort clear the bar.

England improved after the break but were still on the back-foot and France went close with further efforts from Marie-Laure Delie and Thiney.

Powell responded by pushing Scott further forward and she soon went close to finding the net with a flicked header from Rachel Unitt's whipped cross.

A mix-up in the France defence allowed Scott another sight of goal after 58 minutes and this time she made no mistake, advancing to the edge of the area before expertly lifting the ball over Deville.

France came back strongly and forced some intense late pressure that saw substitute Elodi Thomis force a superb late save from Bardsley and Ellen White clear Laura Lepailleur's header off the line.

But England's resistance was ended three minutes from time when the ball broke for Bussaglia on the edge of the area for her to curl the ball into the top corner and their subsequent shoot-out misery meant their hopes of a first appearance in the World Cup semi-finals were dashed.

Afterwards, Powell hailed what she called a "gallant effort" by her side and defended her decision to bring back Faye White and Fara Williams after they were rested in the 2-0 win over Japan on Tuesday.

She also explained that her decision to bring World Cup debutants Steph Houghton and Claire Rafferty off the bench for experienced duo Alex Scott and Rachel Unitt towards the end of the 90 minutes was for injury and tactical reasons.

"Alex said she had a injury and Rafferty was for pace," Powell said. "Rachel Unitt would have struggled against Thomis, and we knew that was going to happen, they always bring her on.

"Claire was very brave to step up and want to take a penalty, I have nothing but admiration for her."

France Ladies: Deville, Viguier, Georges, Lepailleur, Soubeyrand (Thomis 67), Bompastor, Abily, Necib (Bretigny 79), Bussaglia, Thiney, Delie, Bretigny (Le Sommer 106). Subs Not Used: Philippe,Renard,Boulleau,Meilleroux,Franco, Pizzala.

Goals: Bussaglia 87.

England Ladies: Bardsley,Alex Scott (Houghton 81),Stoney, Faye White, Unitt (Rafferty 81), Carney, Jill Scott, Williams, Yankey (Asante 84), Smith, Ellen White. Subs Not Used: Brown, Chamberlain, Clarke, Aluko, Bradley, Bassett, Susi.

Booked: Williams,Ellen White,Bardsley,Jill Scott.

Goals: Jill Scott 58.

Att: 25,000

Ref: Jenny Palmqvist (Sweden).

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