World Cup: France edges England on penalties to advance to semifinals

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LEVERKUSEN, Germany — France edged 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 a semifinal against Brazil or the United States on Wednesday. The game ended 1-1 after extra time.

“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.”

Elise Bussaglia equalized in the 88th minute following Jill Scott’s 59th-minute goal for England before 26,395 fans at Bay Arena.

“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, had 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 right.

“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,” Powell said. “It could have happened to anybody. Unfortunately, the game has to end some way.”

Kelly Smith, Karen Carney and Casey Stoney converted England’s penalties.

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 — no chance.

Bussaglia equalized when she curled a shot from the edge of the penalty area in off the left post.

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 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 years.

“I thought we had a chance with penalties because we’ve been practicing them and Karen’s been saving all of them,” Powell said.

“You have to give credit to France. They pressed and pressed and got the equalizer.”

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