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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 September 2007, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
English pain in Shanghai
BBC presenter Jake Humphrey
By Jake Humphrey
BBC Sport presenter at the Hongkou Stadium HQ

There are eight of us packed into what is essentially a small hut with a carpet indulging in our post-match recovery session.

What a game between England and Japan!

England's Kelly Smith
It was an honour to chat to Kelly after her heroics and good to hear the thoughts of Hope Powell

Everyone from Tony (he runs the technical operation) to Guy Mowbray (who says he has his usual post-commentary headache) and the rest of us are all sitting here, tucking into fast food and discussing the match's finer points.

My cheeseburger and fries are helping, only slightly, ease the pain of England's very....very last minute draw.

I was standing next to the stadium's glass-fronted tunnel exit when I witnessed Aya Miyama's stunning and very cool-headed free-kick.....Heartbreak.

Here is how the last few moments of the match unfolded for me....

80th minute: Sitting, or more accurately slumped, in the press seats behind the Japanese bench - just disbelieving of the fact that England hadn't scored.

Gilt-edged chances for Rachel Yankey, Eni Aluko, Fara Williams and pretty much the rest of the squad had stretched my nervous energy to its very limits.

The game was great; a real afternoon treat for you guys back in the UK with 19 chances, but it was hard going for us in the stadium. I really felt for Hope Powell as she stood, arms folded in the technical area.

81st minute: Stuart (producer) and myself were discussing who to interview after the game. Rachel Brown about the free-kick that moved viciously? Or maybe Fara Williams about where England go from here?

606: DEBATE
Mojo_Jojo84
Then just as I was thinking about my questions, something magical happened....to Kelly Smith.

This is a striker who has had a really difficult few years with injuries, but has come back from all the knocks to lead the line brilliantly for her country.

She fully deserved her goal - just one look at her celebration told the whole story.

83rd minute: My mind was whirring with questions and we decided that the person we needed to speak to was Kelly. Then came the noise....

I suddenly found myself standing, mid-way between my seat and the tunnel area, open-mouthed, staring at Japan's penalty box.

I knew we'd put the ball in the back of the net but just saw a mass of bodies and nobody really celebrating.

I looked at the assistant referee. No flag. Then a glance back at the penalty area and I realised the delay was Kelly trying to get her boot off. Phew. We'd scored....Now let's hang on for the win!

95th minute: I stood in position, ready to ask questions around England's win, and Kelly's huge contribution.

Japan celebrate
Japanese celebrate their last-gasp strike
Bang. We knew from the first free-kick that Miyama could hit a ball. But what a strike it was to earn a draw for Japan.

Two sides full of heart, resilience and effort....and a sport reporter, stood, stunned, microphone in one hand, clipboard in the other and a mind full of new questions!

In the end, it was an honour to chat to Kelly after her heroics and good to hear the thoughts of Hope Powell.

Both were proud of how the girls fought back and both believe the last minute goal won't affect heart or minds for the Germany game on Friday.

What a night. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait for another heart-stopping 90 minutes.

I hope you saw the match. And wherever you are on Friday lunchtime be near a television or the website.

BBC TWO is showing the England against Germany game live at 1245 BST on Tuesday. Tune in.

  • The BBC has comprehensive coverage with all England's games live on BBC TWO and the BBC Sport website and commentary on Radio 5live.


    SEE ALSO
    Japan v England photos
    11 Sep 07 |  Football
    Women's World Cup begins
    10 Sep 07 |  Women
    Fun in Shanghai
    09 Sep 07 |  Women
    Women's World Cup schedule
    21 Aug 07 |  Women
    Powell reveals women's Cup squad
    09 Aug 07 |  Football


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