Laura Bassett bent over, pulled her soccer jersey over her face and sobbed. Her teammates gathered around her, but nothing they said could make it better.
Minutes earlier, the England defender had stretched out her leg to intercept a through ball in the last seconds of a Women's World Cup semifinal against Japan. The ball deflected off her boot, past the England goalkeeper and into the goal off the crossbar. It consigned England to a 2-1 loss Wednesday in the biggest match of its women's team's history.
Own goals haven't just lost soccer matches, they have wrecked reputations and even cost lives. Here is a selection of the saddest own goals:
Andres Escobar (Colombia vs. U.S., 1994)
In perhaps the most tragic episode in World Cup history, the Colombia defender — known as the "Gentleman of the Field" — diverted the ball past his own goalkeeper for the opening goal in a 2-1 loss to the United States in the 1994 World Cup. The result eliminated Colombia from the tournament and, 10 days later, the 27-year-old Escobar was shot dead in a Medellin parking lot. On the day of his death, Escobar had gone out with friends to a disco to take his mind off the own goal but was harassed and ended up being shot six times. It came at a time when professional soccer in Colombia was rife with drug money.
Andoni Zubizarreta (Spain vs. Nigeria, 1998)
For the Spain goalkeeping great, the 1998 World Cup in France was his international swansong that will be remembered for a bad mistake rather than a great save. Spain was leading 2-1 in its opening group game against Nigeria when the 36-year-old Zubizarreta, playing his 124th international, palmed a harmless cross from Garba Lawal into his own net. Spain lost the match 3-2 and was out at the group stage within two weeks.
George John (FC Dallas vs. Colorado, 2010)
It was the first own goal to decide a game in the MLS Cup — and unfortunately for the FC Dallas defender, it happened in the final. Less than two minutes into the second period of extra time, Macoumba Kandji struck the ball across the face of the Dallas goal and it hit the left thigh of John, before spinning over goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and into the net. John kneeled down and put his head in his hands. "It's a game of inches," FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. "It's a deflection goal. It goes in and you say ‘How did that happen?'"
Marcelo (Brazil vs. Croatia, 2014)
Considering how Brazil's campaign at its home World Cup ended, with a 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinals and a 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands in the third-place playoff, it was perhaps fitting that it started with a moment of embarrassment. After the razzmatazz of the opening ceremony, jubilant Brazil fans were hushed 11 minutes into the first game in Sao Paulo when left back Marcelo diverted a cross from the left wing into his own net. It was Brazil's first-ever own goal at a World Cup.
Laura Bassett (England vs. Japan, 2015)
Bassett had been one of England's star players in Canada, playing the best soccer of her life. But instead of the crucial goal-saving challenges and interceptions she produced, her tournament will be widely remembered for the own goal. When she stuck her leg out, the ball might have gone anywhere — to the goalkeeper, for a corner or a throw-in. It wound up hitting the underside of the crossbar and bouncing over the line. "Laura is in a hard place, she really is," said England manager Mark Sampson, who added that "when she comes home, she will be seen as a hero."