The England female national team that started the competition with a disappointing 0-1 loss to France in their opening match but went on to qualify for the semi-final have been denied a place in the final by an own goal against Japan.
The Lionesses were attempting to reach their first World Cup final and only England’s second after the men’s team’s victory in 1966.
They looked on course to take the Olympic silver medallists to extra time after Fara Williams’s penalty cancelled out Aya Miyama’s spot-kick.
As the game entered a second minute of stoppage time, Bassett diverted a rare Japanese cross over goalkeeper Karen Bardsley’s head, the ball hitting the crossbar and agonisingly bouncing over the line.
There was barely time for England to respond and Notts County defender Bassett burst into tears at the final whistle as her team-mates sunk to the turf.
After making history by reaching the semi-finals for the first time, the manner of the defeat was cruel on Mark Sampson’s side, who missed three good chances around the hour mark.
But that will be of little consolation as Japan prepare to face United States in a repeat of the 2011 final, which the Japanese won on penalties.
England, meanwhile, will face Germany in Saturday’s third-place play-off.