Laura Bassett scored into her own net during second-half stoppage time, giving Japan a 2-1 victory over England in a Women’s World Cup semifinal Wednesday.
The decisive goal Wednesday came when Japan’s Nahomi Kawasumi drove up the right side and sent a cross into the middle for Yuki Ogimi. Bassett reached out with her right foot and caught the ball flush, inadvertently sending it toward her net. The ball struck the crossbar and bounced in just before goalkeeper Karen Bardsley could get across.
“However we played in this game, the fact is, we’re going to the final,” Japan coach Norio Sasaki said through an interpreter. “And I’d like to congratulate the players for that. ... We should really cherish this moment that we are going to the final.”
The defending champions advanced to play the United States in the championship game at Vancouver on Sunday.
It’s a rematch of the 2011 championship game in Germany, when Japan won on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw.
Bassett was inconsolable at the end of the match, lying flat on the ground, her face in the turf. She then needed assistance from teammates and her coach before leaving the field.
Kessel traded to Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired high-scoring winger Phil Kessel from Toronto in the biggest move of the day, while a handful of prominent defenseman found new homes in free agency.
Kessel will now team up with former MVPs Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh. The Penguins sent forward prospect Kasperi Kapanen, forward Nick Spaling, defenseman Scott Harrington and a 2016 third-round pick to the Maple Leafs for Kessel, forward Tyler Briggs and defenseman Tim Erixon. Conditional draft picks are also involved.
Kessel has 247 goals and 273 assists in nine seasons between Boston and Toronto, including 25 goals and 36 assists for the Leafs in 2014-15.
“He was always the guy, he was a guy that was blamed when things weren’t going well, and he doesn’t have to be the guy here,” Pittsburgh General Manager Jim Rutherford said. “We have a bunch of them, and so I believe that he’s going to fit in very well.”
… Glen Sather, who has led the Rangers since 2000, is relinquishing his role as general manager but will remain team president.
Williams sisters beat the heat
On the hottest day on record in Wimbledon history, with the temperature topping 95 degrees, both Williams sisters won second-round matches at Wimbledon on Wednesday: Sixteenth-seeded Venus beat 95th-ranked Yulia Putintseva 7-6 (5), 6-4, while top-seeded Serena defeated 93rd-ranked Timea Babos 6-4, 6-1.
Four other women from the U.S. won, including two real surprises: 158th-ranked qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands eliminated No. 7 Ana Ivanovic, the 2009 French Open champion, 6-3, 6-4; and 47th-ranked CoCo Vandeweghe, the niece of former NBA player and executive Kiki, beat No. 11 Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (5), 6-4.
Also advancing: No. 21 Madison Keys, who finished off a match suspended because of darkness at 2-all in the third set a night earlier, and Sloane Stephens.
Fourth-seeded Maria Sharapova advanced by beating Richel Hogenkamp 6-3, 6-1.
In men’s action, Novak Djokovic beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 and fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori withdrew because of a calf injury.
AROUND THE HORN
WNBA: Tulsa guard Skylar Diggins will miss the remainder of the season after tearing her right anterior cruciate ligament.
College basketball: Seven former University of Illinois women’s players sued the university, accusing coach Matt Bollant and a former assistant of violating their civil rights by creating a racially hostile environment.