England 0-0 Nigeria (4-2 on penalties): Lionesses Avoid Upset Despite Lauren James Red Card

England squeezed through to the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup at the expense of a brilliant Jamaica side who just struggled with the pressure of a penalty shoot-out.

While winning a penalty shoot-out is an extremely dramatic way to advance in a World Cup, to do so after playing all of extra time with 10 players and then missing your first spot kick is extremely impressive from a mentality perspective for the Lionesses.

It was a game that England never got going in and failed to find a rhythm throughout the match, despite having star midfielder Keira Walsh back in the starting lineup, not long after many thought that her tournament could be over when she was stretchered off against Denmark.

The Lionesses were certainly the poorer team in Brisbane last night, but top teams always seem to find a way of going through and winning, even when they play poorly, with yesterday’s display certainly being one of the worst under Sarina Wiegman, but they showed they are strong, together and could go all the way even when not at their best.

England limp through to the quarter-finals

Mary Earps was the star of the show for England in the first half of normal time pulling off stunning save, after stunning save to keep the Lionesses in the game and they certainly needed her to perform like she is rightfully, the best goalkeeper in the entire world.

@hindhaugh98

Match winnee Chloe Kelly giving her shirt awy 👏 #woso #football #womensworldcup #wwc #footballtiktok #womensfootballtiktok #wosotiktok #england #lionesses #nigeria

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The second half was more of the same with Nigeria having more efforts at goal than the European champions, and they certainly didn’t help themselves to get in control of the game as their star of the tournament thus far, Lauren James, was sent off following a VAR review.

James – who is one of the brightest talents in Women’s football – was adjudged to have stamped on the back of Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie. It was completely avoidable and unnecessary from the Chelsea attacker and just showed an immature side of her that had not really been evident this World Cup.

Lauren James must learn from petulant sending off

Nigeria continued to battle hard and try to force a breakthrough but Alex Greenwood, Millie Bright and Jess Carter, in particular, stood strong and managed to keep a precious clean sheet despite being at a numerical disadvantage, which meant after a goalless 120 minutes, it was to be penalties for the second day in a row at the World Cup.

Flashbacks of previous penalty heartaches rushed to the forefront of people’s minds when Georgia Stanway stepped up and smashed her effort wide. However, that agony quickly turned to ecstasy as Nigeria missed their opening two spot kicks, handing England the advantage, something they didn’t waste.

Chloe Kelly is the England hero, once again.

Following Stanway’s miss, Bethany England, Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood and match-winner, Kelly, all buried their efforts from 12 yards which booked England’s ticket into the quarter-final which will be played in Sydney on August 12th.

It was a tense and unpleasant evening from an England perspective despite the victory as cracks were on show for all the other nations to see, but the way that the England players celebrated post-match with the traveling fans shows that they are in this together as one, no matter what, and they will stick with this successful and inspiring group of athletes.

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Written by

Aaron Hindhaugh

Qualified and experienced journalist covering all aspects of news and sport. Specialist in both Men's and Women's football with increasing coverage of golf and tennis.

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