SSI Err 

England denied win at death

Published: Tuesday 11 September 2007, 14.57CET
Japan 2-2 England A last-gasp Aya Niyama free-kick thwarted England after a tremendous Kelly Smith-inspired fightback with two goals in the final ten minutes in Shanghai.
 
SSI Err
Published: Tuesday 11 September 2007, 14.57CET

England denied win at death

Japan 2-2 England A last-gasp Aya Niyama free-kick thwarted England after a tremendous Kelly Smith-inspired fightback with two goals in the final ten minutes in Shanghai.
A last-gasp Aya Niyama free-kick prevented a dream start to England's first FIFA Women's World Cup finals campaign in 12 years after a tremendous Kelly Smith-inspired fightback.

England behind
Having seen their Friday opponents Germany produce a competition record 11-0 victory against Argentina in the opening Group A match yesterday, England knew a loss against World Cup ever-presents Japan in Shanghai would be costly. Hope Powell's team had the better of the play, but were unable to force the ball in and were made to pay in the 55th minute when Miyama's free-kick deflected off the head of Katie Chapman and beyond the grasp of England goalkeeper Rachel Brown.

Comeback thwarted
Chance after chance went begging for England but with nine minutes left the equaliser finally arrived when Smith forced her way through the Japan defence and struck into the bottom right-hand corner. Only two minutes later the Arsenal LFC player did it again, shooting in on the rebound after an initial effort was blocked by keeper Miho Fukumoto. But just as it seemed victory was secure Niyama produced another super set-piece deep into injury time. Smith said: "We were so close; they scored with the last kick of the game. Devastating for us but we showed a lot of character coming back from two goals behind."

Last updated: 12/09/07 14.44CET

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