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Duggan, Houghton react to shattering World Cup defeat

Laura Bassett and Jo Potter

Laura Bassett and Jo Potter

Manchester City Women's England ace Toni Duggan says Laura Bassett will recover from her heart-breaking injury-time own goal against Japan at the World Cup.

The Lionesses had fought back from a penalty by Aya Miyama with a Fara Williams' spot-kick, before their campaign was ended in shattering fashion in Edmonton.

Bassett could only toe-poke a cross from the right high into the net to give Japan victory at the last - but Mark Sampson's side did themselves proud.

Duggan, one of five City Women players to start the game, was quick to console Bassett.

She said: "We're devastated - you can tell by the girls' reaction

"We put everything into it and it's the cruelest way to lose a football game - in the last minute and especially when it's an own goal scored by our best centre back, who has been our rock throughout.

"It's criminal, it's tough to take and I'm gutted.

"I tried to speak to Laura at the end but I don't think anything went in - I don't think anything will for a while.

"I know how much she wears her heart on her sleeve like we all do and it's going to take a while for that to settle in.

"The girl's had a fantastic tournament. She's a great example to any player out there and she's a great character. I know she'll bounce back from this.

"I nearly scored - that was unfortunate - and Jill Scott came close with a header but in the end, it just wasn't meant to be.

"I'm proud of the team's performance and I know we'll come back stronger.

"The support has been out-of-this-world - it's been amazing and we can't thank the fans enough. Hopefully, this will stay with me - these are memories that will last forever - and it's just unfortunate we didn't get over that last hurdle."

Jill Scott and Steph Houghton

City Women and England skipper Steph Houghton echoed Duggan's sentiments.

She reflected: "There are no words to describe it really. The only thing I have to say is that I'm so proud of all of the girls and the staff.

"We've been on an amazing journey and there isn't one player who had an ounce of energy left on that pitch.

"That's football - it can be cruel at times - but we can hold our heads up high and try and pick ourselves up to go and play against Germany on Saturday.

"The squad showed great character and desire to win as well as passion to play for England. They're a bunch of girls that give everything for the jersey and they're great people.

"We've got to take that into the game on Saturday - we want to try and finish third if we can because we've given a good account of ourselves over the tournament.

"Thank you so much for all of the support. We've tried to grip the nation and perform to get into that World Cup final but it just wasn't to be."

You can see your World Cup heroes in action when the FA Women's Super League resumes on Sunday 12 July.

MCWFC face Birmingham City Ladies at 2pm at the Academy Stadium and ticket information can be found here.


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