Women's World Cup 2011, England Vs. France: Les Bleues Advance On Penalty Kicks

Apparently penalty kick heartbreak is not exclusive to the England men's team. The women can do it too. A thrilling quarterfinal match between England and France still lacked a winner after 120 minutes of play, sending the contest to penalty kicks. Trailing 4-3 on kicks, England needed to convert on their final attempt to avoid defeat, but captain Faye White saw her shot clatter off of the crossbar. England were heartbroken as their tournament  came to an end, but France were elated as the 1-1 draw and 4-3 triumph on kicks sent them onto the Women's World Cup semifinals.

It took until the 59th minute to break the scoreless tie, although it wasn't for lack of chances. Both teams played well and had chances to go in front. Pushed on by an enthusiastic, capacity crowd at Bay Arena in Leverkusen, both sides picked up their play as the match went on and the urgency of the knockout stages was evident.

The only tallies of the matches came from distance on a pair of fantastic strikes. Jill Scott put England in front just before the hour mark with a 20-yard shot that got over the goalkeeper before dipping under the bar. France pushed back hard after, pressuring England and it finally paid off just two minutes from fulltime when Elise Bussaglia jumped on a free ball 20 yards from goal and ripped it on her first touch. The ball rocketed off the inside of the post and in for the late equalizer.

Tied after fulltime, England and France went to extra time, but those 30 minutes didn't settle anything so they were on to penalties. It was the first time that a Women's World Cup match had gone to penalties since the 1999 final and this one was equally thrilling. After some crisp finishing to start the penalty kicks, England missed their fourth kick to put France in front. That meant White faced the pressure of making England's final kick to keep them alive, but her shot hit the crossbar and bounced away. England were despondent, but France were elated as they moved on to play either the United States or Brazil for a spot in the tournament final.

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