England World Cup run 'grabbed attention of a nation'

England may have suffered last-minute heartache in their World Cup semi-final defeat to Japan, but have they changed the face of women's football forever with their performances in Canada?

Mark Sampson's side were within seconds of taking the defending champions to extra-time and had three good chances to take the lead in a strong second-half display.

Defender Laura Bassett's own goal then ensured semi-final disappointment to rival Sir Bobby Robson's side's defeat in Turin in 1990.

But in the last week women's football has been heavily featured in the front and back pages of newspapers in England, with players and boss Sampson regular guests on screen and on the airwaves. More than 10.7m people had followed the World Cup on the BBC prior to the game against Japan.

Have the current England side made a difference? After the match BBC Sport pundits Sue Smith, Rachel Yankey, Trevor Sinclair, Rachel Brown-Finnis and Natasha Dowie all agreed that the game in England will improve as a result of the run to the last four.

'England grabbed the attention of the nation'

Liverpool Ladies forward Natasha Dowie: "The England players have definitely left a legacy and I hope it carries on. It has been amazing to see the attention they have received, the impact they have had.

"We will now see a lot of players coming to the Women's Super League from abroad. Players that have criticised our league and thought that it was not that strong have been proved wrong."

Former England winger Trevor Sinclair: "When the girls get back, they should be given a heroes' welcome.

England women
Many of the England players were in tears after Laura Bassett's last-minute own goal

"We need to get more people supporting women's football and start up academies for young girls to play football. Hopefully in 10 years we will have players in the England team that have been inspired to play the game by what they have seen in Canada this month."

Former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis: "England have made history in this tournament and exceeded a lot of people's expectations. Most importantly they have grabbed the attention of the whole nation.

"Male, female, whatever generation, everyone has been inspired in some way by the guts, determination, resilience and adaptability."

Former England winger Sue Smith: "England have to be proud of themselves, this is a horrible, horrible way to go out but England need to be happy with what they've done. In a couple of days' time when they've reflected on it, they'll know what they've done for women's football in this country."

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Women's World Cup 2015: Mark Sampson praise for 'hero' Laura Bassett

Former England midfielder Rachel Yankey: "We need the Football Association to make sure they are pushing women's football even more than they have done. I've talked to people in the street and they don't know how to get to women's games and if people know, that's how we break down barriers.

"People back home, young kids, they can be proud and think 'I want to be like those players'. The team have to be proud of themselves, they have made the World Champions Japan look average."

Former England captain Gill Coultard: "England weren't given a chance before they went to Canada so to get to a semi-final and be so close to the final has been brilliant.

"The reaction in the British media and from football fans and the TV ratings has been great. The euphoria around the team really built throughout the tournament and hopefully it will inspire and take women's football to the next level.

"We need the legacy to continue and we have to make that happen. We need all the hype surrounding England to translate into more people going to Women's Super League matches, supporting the domestic game and going to Wembley for the FA Women's Cup Final."

'You couldn't score that own goal if you tried 100 times'

England were seconds away from extra time when centre-back Laura Bassett stretched to intercept a cross and sliced the ball into her own net - off the underside of the crossbar.

Former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis: "I am good friends with Laura Bassett. I have been in the squad with her for goodness knows how long. She will be personally devastated that the team has gone out in such unfortunate circumstances and that it was her that made the error.

"You couldn't replicate that if you tried it 100 times. She will take a lot of responsibility for it, which she shouldn't. It is a team game. It will only be a few weeks down the line when she takes a bigger perspective on things and realise what they have done and what she has done for women's football overall. This error was just part of the story."

BBC Sport's Alistair Magowan in Canada with the England camp: "I spoke to Laura Bassett two days ago and she was understandably relishing the chance to play in a World Cup semi-final for the first time.

"A defining experience, she said, and it is now, but for all the wrong reasons."

England striker Toni Duggan: "Laura Bassett has been our rock. I know how much she wears her heart on her sleeve, she is a great example for any player out there and I know she will bounce back from it."

England goalscorer Fara Williams: "Laura Bassett feels like she has let everyone down but she has given everything for England."

Liverpool Ladies forward Natasha Dowie: "It's sad to see. Someone who has had such a good game. Laura is such a good soldier and such a good person. I'm really upset. You see pictures like that of her in tears and they didn't deserve to lose that game. I'm a bit choked up to be honest."

Women's football writer Catherine Etoe: "Her own goal in the dying moments of England's semi-final clash with reigning World champions Japan will see Laura Bassett make headlines for all the wrong reasons.

"Yet if any player was on course to emerge from this World Cup with their reputation enhanced it was the Notts County skipper.

"The 31-year-old had survived a bruising encounter against France that left her with a swollen cheek and had gone on to form a solid and successful partnership in central defence with England skipper Steph Houghton.

"What is more, with her dry sense of humour, this most popular of footballers had played her part in the development of the team spirit that was famously helping to carry England to success in Canada.

"So the tears that were shed at the final whistle in Edmonton were not only for England's loss, they were also in heartfelt sympathy for a player who famously likes to take a teapot and teabags away with her on the road."

'England played their best football in defeat'

Jill Scott
Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott was close to putting England ahead with a second-half header

Former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis: "England gave a fantastic account of themselves and continued with the upward momentum they have developed and grown in this tournament.

"Ironically, they played some of their best football in the semi-final. How they attacked and caused Japan problems was admirable. It was just a case of ridiculous bad luck as to why things didn't go England's way."

Former England midfielder Rachel Yankey: "I think the team have to be proud of themselves, they have made the reigning world champions look average."

BBC Sport's Alistair Magowan in Canada with the England camp: "England pressed Japan high up the pitch and created three excellent chances in the space of four minutes when Toni Duggan hit the bar, Ellen White drew a save and Jill Scott headed wide from a corner.

"Those misses proved costly. Buoyed by the second half, England could approach extra-time with confidence, and until Laura Bassett's cruel own-goal there looked to be only one winner. It wasn't the reigning champions."

England goalscorer Fara Williams: "As a squad we are proud to push the world champions to the wire. We really pushed them, our game plan was spot on and a fluke goal has got them through."

'England still have the chance of a medal'

England now face Germany in the third/fourth-place play-off on Saturday night

Women's football writer Catherine Etoe: "When the dust of the semi-final defeat by Japan has settled, Mark Sampson's England will have to gear themselves up to go again, and quickly.

"World Cup bronze is still to play for, but to get their hands on a medal England must first overcome rivals Germany, a nation the Lionesses have not beaten in 20 matches.

"Germany head coach Silvia Neid ran the rule over England in Edmonton as they fell at the semi-final, but she is already familiar with many of Mark Sampson's players.

"Her European champions humbled England on home turf in November, beating them 3-0 in a friendly at Wembley in front of more than 45,000 spectators."

Former England midfielder Rachel Yankey: "The third-place match is the last thing on England's minds but we are still in the tournament and want to finish the best that we can and they have to go out there and show that grit and determination against Germany."

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Highlights: England 0-3 Germany

Former England captain Gill Coultard: "England still have a chance of a medal so it's important Mark Sampson tells the girls to go out there and give their all in Edmonton on Saturday.

"I'm sure he will pick the strongest team possible as to aim to beat Germany would really set themselves up for the European Championships in 2017.

"They have never beaten Germany so it's not going to be easy - and it will be coach Silvia Neid's last game - so they will want to go out on a high too. It should make for a good game - if both teams want it. England need to get over the disappointment of the semi-final, dust themselves down and go for it 100%"

Former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis: "It is a great test of character against a team we have never beaten. But then, we have done a lot of things we have never done before in this tournament.

"This team has a whole new belief system and have bought into it. They can decide their own destiny and create more and more milestones for themselves, starting with Germany."