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FIFA Women's World Cup

Quotes: Japan-England

England manager Mark Sampson looks on
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*Norio Sasaki, Japan coach
England were more mobile than I was expecting, and we struggled to cause them problems. We didn’t play as well as I’d hoped, but when you qualify, it means you’ve achieved your objective. As for the own goal, I feel sorry for the player, but Yuki Ogimi was right behind her ready to pounce, so I don’t think it would have made a difference either way. We still created the goalscoring opportunity ourselves – for me, it’s more a goal made by Nahomi Kawasumi and Ogimi than an own goal. In the dressing room, Kozue Ando told the players over the phone that she would be at the Final in Vancouver to support them. I think that provided them with the motivation to qualify.

*Mark Sampson, England coach
What a tough one to take. I can’t really talk about the match right now, but I can talk about my team, who have sacrificed so much, and who have given sweat, blood and tears, while continuing to smile throughout. The players deserve to go back home as heroes. Laura Bassett is devastated after the own goal, but without her we wouldn’t have been in this semi-final. It was a horrible moment, but you just have to look at how the team has supported her to understand that she’ll be able to get over it. This group is so close-knit that the players are now friends for life. Japan are the world champions, and we saw why tonight. Whatever happens, they always manage to find a way of hanging on in a match, and tonight that helped them to reach the final. But I’ve never seen a team put Japan under the kind of pressure that we did. That’s almost worth a World Cup victory.