Stephanie Roche joins chorus of support after Laura Bassett OG ends England's World Cup
Ireland international striker Stephanie Roche has commiserated with England after they exited the World Cup in the most heartbreaking fashion.
The Puskas Award runner-up offered her support to England defender Laura Bassett after her injury time own goal saw them beaten 2-1 in their World Cup semi-final by Japan.
"It 's not nice for any team to go out of the World Cup, the game was set for extra-time and for the defender to get an own goal like that was devastating," she said.
"I feel bad for the defender, it's not a nice way to lose a game."
England coach Mark Sampson has insisted heartbroken defender Laura Bassett will head home a hero.
Bassett's attempted sliding clearance from a Nahomi Kawasumi cross, in the second minute of injury time, crashed against the under-side of the bar and over the line to rob England of the chance of a place in the final against the United States.
A devastated Bassett, who plays for Notts County, was surrounded by team-mates at the end of the game and she received remarkable praise from her coach.
"When she goes home she will be a hero," declared a defiant Sampson to reporters. "There were moments in that game when she stood up, she stopped an incredible strike force.
"Laura Bassett, without a shadow of doubt will go home a hero but we will be there for her. We will stay together and stay strong - this team are friends for life now,"
The cruel loss ended what had been a magical run for England, who dropped their opener to France then steam-rolled their way into the last four, winning their next four matches and millions of fans along the way.
Their fighting spirit was on display with quarter-final win over host Canada and again on Wednesday after going down a goal to the defending champions and battling back with an equaliser.
"The way Laura Bassett has played in this tournament, she has epitomised all the values that England football fans want to see in that white jersey," added Sampson. "She is hurting now but she will wake up, she will have 22 team-mates, a group of staff who will give her a hug, tell her how proud we are of her and we will do the same to the whole group."
Bassett had been at the heart of an England defence which had ensured their goalkeeper Karen Bardsley had little work to do against an attacking Japanese side.
"It was a horrible moment obviously for Laura but you can see the regard the team hold Laura in by their reaction," continued Sampson. "Every single member of my group is devastated, when that ball went over the line we were devastated.
"But our first point of call is 'look after your own'. Laura is one of us, she is one of our team, we get around her, we console her and we tell her how proud we are of her, because without her we wouldn't be in that semi-final."
Support has been flooding in from far and wide for Bassett:
What a dreadful way to lose! Poor, poor Laura Bassett.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 2, 2015
Despite the gut-wrenching nature of the defeat, England's women were terrific and should hold their heads high. Great effort!— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 2, 2015
That is so brutal. Bassett own goal. Been one of England's best players. Absolutely sickening way to go out.— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) July 2, 2015
Have felt pain like that and wouldn't wish it on anyone. The margins at the top are so small. We win and lose as a TEAM. #ENG— Faye White (@faye_white) July 2, 2015
Watching the post match interviews by the England players & coach. Pure class. You represent yourselves and your country brilliantly.thank u— Mia Hamm (@MiaHamm) July 2, 2015