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France sings the Bleues
by Paul Kennedy, August 6th, 2012 3:09PM

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TAGS:  france, japan, olympics


[JAPAN-FRANCE] It took a long time for France to get over its 3-1 loss to the USA in the semifinals of the 2011 Women's World Cup. But that will be nothing like the disappointment following the Bleues' 2-1 loss to Japan in the semifinals of the Olympic women's soccer competition. Despite a 27-6 edge in shots -- 17-4 in shots on goal -- the Bleues fell to the world champions thanks to two monumental errors.

Asked which semifinal loss was worse, France coach Bruno Bini said, "This is worse. In the second  half, we did not give up one chance [sic] and in the last 20 minutes, the Japanese came in our half two times. If we equalized, we would have scored a third and then a fourth goal. Last year, we played the Americans even, but they killed is with their power. This time, no ..."

Goalie Sarah Bouhaddi's failure to claim a free kick in the box led to the first goal, and captain Elise Bussaglia fired wide of the goal on a penalty kick that would have completed France's comeback from two goals down.

Yuki Ogimi took advantage of Bouhaddi's gaffe to put Japan ahead in the 32nd minute, and Mizuho Sakaguchi  made it 2-0 with a header off a free kick in the 49th minute.

For the last half hour, after the introduction of Camille Abily and Eugenie Le Sommer, it was all France, which was finally rewarded when Le Sommer scored in the 76th minute.

Two minutes later, Le Sommer was taken down in the area for a penalty, but Bussaglia failed to the put her shot on target with goalie Miho Kukumoto having gone the other way.

France attacked in wave after wave but could not find the equalizer.

The closest either team came to score came in the 90th minute when Ogimi hit the post on a breakaway.



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