Lauren James sent off for England and could miss rest of Women's World Cup

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Lauren James sent off for England and could miss rest of Women
Lauren James sent off for England and could miss rest of Women's World Cup

Lauren James was sent off for standing on the back of a Nigeria player during the Lionesses ' tense win on penalties in the last-16 of the Women's World Cup.

James was initially given a yellow card for the altercation with Michelle Alozie in the 87th minute, but VAR intervened and the card was upgraded. The England star will be given an automatic one-game ban, which could be extended to three games, meaning that her tournament could be over, despite England coming through on penalties after a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes.

The Chelsea forward had starred in England's final group game, scoring twice and assisting two of their six goals against China. But James was man-marked out of the knockout tie and showed her frustration after being penalised for a foul.

After the whistle blew for a foul, James stood up, putting her studs into Alozie's back. Referee Melissa Borjas initially gave James a yellow card, but the VAR recommended she go over the to pitchside screen to watch the incident again. It was then upgraded to a red card.

Lauren James sent off for England and could miss rest of Women's World Cup eideziqkeiqhhinvLauren James was sent off in the 87th minute

The flashpoint came towards the end of the 90 minutes in Brisbane, with the score still at 0-0. Nigeria had been much the better side, striking the crossbar twice as England held on nervously.

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Wiegman reacted by taking off striker Alessia Russo for Chloe Kelly as the game went into extra-time. They managed to hold on to take the game to penalties and triumphed 4-2 on spot-kicks, with Chloe Kelly sealing a quarter-final place against Colombia or Jamaica after Bethany England, Alex Greenwood and Rachel Daly all scored.

Former Lionesses striker Ellen White was critical of James' behaviour. "It is disappointing," she said on the BBC's coverage. "She was frustrated throughout the game and wasn't in the game. There was no need for it."

Lauren James sent off for England and could miss rest of Women's World CupVAR confirmed the decision (Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Fellow pundit, and Arsenal manager, Jonas Eidevall added: "You could see during the game she was making some bad decisions on and off the ball. The lack of subs from England surprised me. They should have been more proactive with the subs."

Former England striker Gary Lineker tweeted: "The @Lionesses down to 10 as Lauren James has a Beckhamesque moment of madness."

"I'm really disappointed," former Lionesses player Anita Asante said on BBC Radio 5 Live. "One act has kind of tarnished all the good work that Lauren James has done up until this point.

"She is a superstar and hopefully she will grow from this experience. Her team now have lost a player who has the ability to turn a game on its head."

James' hot-headedness had shades of two previous England red cards at major tournaments. David Beckham was sent off for kicking out at Argentina's Diego Simeone at the 1998 World Cup, while Wayne Rooney was given his marching orders for a stamp against Portugal at the 2006 World Cup.

Felix Keith

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