The European champions, Lioness, defeated Nigeria in a penalty shootout after a tensed 90 minutes and extra-time goalless draw to qualify for the quarter-finals of the women’s world cup.
The clash, which took place at Lang Park, marked a memorable moment in the Women’s World Cup as England scraped through to the quarter-finals after winning 4-2 on penalties.
From the first whistle, England exhibited their ability by dominating the early moments of the game.
However, Nigeria quickly found their rhythm that allowed them to take control of the match.
Throughout the game, Nigeria showed their attacking strength, almost taking the lead on two occasions when their efforts struck the crossbar.
The Lionesses were awarded a penalty, only for the decision to be overturned following a VAR check.
The drama escalated further in the 87th minute when Lauren James received a red card for an aggressive stamp on Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie, reducing England to ten players.
Nigeria, who had arguably been the stronger side throughout the match, continued to press forward in the second half.
As the match extended into extra time, both teams fought to break the deadlock, but neither could find the back of the net.
The absence of goals set the stage for a penalty shootout, where both teams had their moments of triumph and despair.
Ultimately, it was Chloe Kelly who stole the spotlight with her winning penalty kick.
Following our penalty shootout victory against Nigeria’s Super Falcons, Kelly commented, “We’ve been practicing penalties a lot, and it’s working. For me, I was thinking I was going to score – once I win that mental battle, we’re good.
“This team is special, we did in the Euros, in the Finalissima, and we’ve done it again tonight. There’s more to come from this special team.”
What’s Next for Lauren James?
Unless a successful appeal occurs, which appears highly unlikely, Lauren James will be suspended for England’s quarter-final game against either Jamaica or Colombia.
However, her situation could worsen as FIFA regulations stipulate that “additional sanctions can be added by FIFA if necessary” based on the severity of the red card.
Given that her dismissal was due to violent conduct, which usually results in severe penalties in all levels of soccer, a standard three-match ban is typical in such instances.
If this suspension is upheld, regardless of England’s progress in the tournament, James will be unable to participate.