Tokyo: Japanese fans celebrated reaching the Women`s World Cup final Thursday but some shed tears of sympathy over the stoppage-time own goal which earned them a 2-1 win over England.
The teams were headed for extra-time in Edmonton but deep into injury time, England defender Laura Bassett`s interception cruelly rebounded in off her own crossbar.
"It`s not the prettiest way (to win) but they never give up," said surfing instructor Takumi Hayashi, who was watching at a Tokyo sports bar.
"It was a lucky goal but a win`s a win," added the 28-year-old.
The result puts the defending champions into Sunday`s final against the United States, a rematch of 2011 when they shocked the favourites on penalties.
Bassett was in floods of tears after the final whistle and had to be consoled by England coach Mark Sampson as she walked off the field.
Sara Shimane, a 35-year-old composer who was also watching at the sports bar, said Japan`s victory was tinged with sadness.
"I felt so bad for the England player who scored the own goal I started crying," she said.
The feelings of sympathy for the unlucky Bassett were echoed on social media.
"I cried when I saw coach Sampson hugging Bassett. I`m happy Nadeshiko won, but England were strong and amazing too," tweeted @orangebb45.
Chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said at his daily press briefing that he was "applauding (the win) from the bottom of my heart".
"It`s a result of team effort and working together," he said.