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07th Aug 2023

England star makes class gesture to Nigeria goalkeeper, as Lauren James ‘has Rooney moment’

Callum Boyle

Chloe Kelly

England avoided a scare to reach the quarter finals

England avoided a huge scare as they beat Nigeria on penalties to advance through to the quarter finals of the women’s World Cup. Chloe Kelly was the bright light, in more ways than one.

It was the Lionesses most underwhelming performance of the tournament so far as they struggled to make any major impact on the game as their opposition had the bulk of the best chances.

Sarina Wiegman’s side were dealt a huge blow three minutes from time though as Lauren James was sent off for a straight red card after she stamped on Michelle Alozie, leaving England with a one-player disadvantage heading into extra time. Despite having one player less, England were able to keep out Nigeria as they took the game all the way to penalties.

Georgia Stanway missed the first spot-kick however Beth England, Rachel Daly and Alex Greenwood all converted before Chloe Kelly scored the winning penalty to take them through to the last eight.

While the rest of her teammates celebrated their success, Kelly rushed to immediately console Chiamaka Nnadozie, who was visibly distraught after she was unable to help keep Nigeria in the competition before telling the cameras to stop zooming in on the rest of the Nigeria squad, who couldn’t hide their disappointment.

Lauren James could miss rest of World Cup

The European champions were hampered by a red card to Lauren James, for a stamp on her opponent, late in that opening 90 minutes.

A VAR review determined that the challenge was worthy of a straight red, with many on social media comparing it to the red card David Beckham received at the 1998 World Cup against Argentina. Others said James ‘had a Rooney moment’, referring to the former England star getting sent off against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup.

Referee Melissa Borjas had initially shown James a yellow card but after checking the monitor, reversed her decision quickly.

The Lionesses were up against it from the off as Nigeria created a host of chances, forcing Mary Earps into action.

Despite there numerical disadvantage, the 10 remaining women on the pitch fought resiliently, taking the game to extra time before neither side could find the breakthrough, taking it to penalties.

Although the odds were stacked against them, England are able to emerge victorious in the shoot out but as a result of James’ red card she now could miss the rest of the tournament if the organisers decide to extend the one-match ban.

After the game, Chloe Kelly told the BBC she knew she was going to score as the Lionesses progress to the last eight. They remain one of the favourites to win the tournament.

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