We’re Still Trying To Wrap Our Minds Around This Save From England’s Karen Bardsley

It looked like Japan had struck the goal of the tournament. Then Karen Bardsley came out of nowhere.

Kumi Yokoyama struck it perfectly. The ball zipped through the air at the Allianz Riviera like lightning, heading straight for the top corner of the goal from 36 yards out.

Karen Bardsley wasn’t even in the picture as it began to look like Japan would take the lead over England early in their Group D match on Wednesday. The Three Lionesses keeper had shaded to her left side of the goal and was still scrambling to her right when Yokoyama’s shot made a late swerve toward the upper 90. 

Seemingly out of nowhere, Bardsley finally arrived, sprawling out to reach her fingertips to the ball, pushing it off the crossbar and over for a corner kick.

As good as goalies like Christiane Endler and Vanina Correa have been, this Karen Bardsley save vs Japan is the best stop of the tournament so far. 

The save was massive in the battle for supremacy in Group D, as England won the match 2-0.

Not long after Bardsley’s heroics, Ellen White gave England the lead.

The goalkeeping was stellar for both sides.

While some people, like Chelsea Women coach Emma Hayes, have recently suggested making the size of women’s soccer fields and goals smaller, Japan’s Ayaka Yamashita scoffed at that idea with a huge save in the 57th minute.

England was looking to avenge a loss in the 2015 Women’s World Cup semifinals, in which a brutal own goal cost the Three Lionesses a place in the final against the U.S. 

This time around, England won 2-0 thanks to two goals from White, who put the match away with a strong finish in the 84th minute.

Another Karen Bardsley vs Japan, this a kick save in the 89th minute, secured a well-deserved clean sheet. England advances to the Round of 16 as group winner to set up a date with a third-place team on Sunday. 

Japan finished second in the group and will play the Group E winner, which will be either the Netherlands or Canada, a far more difficult opponent than anyone England will face. 

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