Wiegman gives honest verdict on James red card and England World Cup scare

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Wiegman gives honest verdict on James red card and England World Cup scare
Wiegman gives honest verdict on James red card and England World Cup scare

Sarina Wiegman said Lauren James will learn a "huge lesson" after she was sent off in England's dramatic penalty win over Nigeria.

But the England boss also stressed there was no malicious intent from the Chelsea star after she was sent off for stepping on an opponent. The Lionesses edged through on penalties after a 0-0 draw with Nigeria in the last 16, Chloe Kelly smashing home a dramatic winning spot kick. But this was only after they lost Lauren James for a senseless dismissal after she placed her foot on the back of Nigeria's Michelle Alozie.

James saw red following a VAR review from referee Melissa Borjas. But thankfully for England supporters, the European Champions clung on to take the game to penalties when a player down.

“It was the moment of a split second," said Wiegman after the win. "It was late in the game, players get a little tired. She is a little inexperienced on this stage.

“Sometimes that happens with human beings. It is an intense game. In a split second she lost her emotions. Of course she apologised. Things happen, you can’t change it. It’s a huge lesson for her to learn but isn’t something she did on purpose.”

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“Of course she doesn’t want to hurt anyone she is the sweetest person I know."

James will automatically receive a one-match ban for the red card, but the ruling can be upgraded at the discretion of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, for which a precedent has been set. Nigeria's Deborah Abiodun was sent off in extra-time of her side's first group stage match and was forced to serve a three-match ban.

Wiegman gives honest verdict on James red card and England World Cup scareLauren James sparked World Cup fury when she stamped on Nigerian player Michelle Alozie in a moment of uncivilised sports play (Getty)

But Wiegman isn't certain that James' World Cup journey will come to a premature end Down Under. The 21-year-old has starred in England's last two group stage matches, claiming successive Player of the Match awards in the process before her dismissal against the Super Falcons.

“We won’t make any assumptions on the ban," Wiegman added.

England were outplayed for large parts of the 120 minutes before the penalty shootout. But they managed to survive with a goalless draw before two Nigerian misses opened the door to the last eight.

Although England struggled to create chances, Wiegman said she wasn't worried about the display and gave credit to the Nigerian side. The Super Falcons had already eliminated Olympic Champions Canada from the competition and very nearly did the same to the European Champions.

She added: “I wasn’t worried about the performance it was a really intense game. We can’t underestimate Nigeria - they did really well in the group stage - and we didn’t. They showed what a good team they had. They pressed a little higher than their other games and did well.

“We could do better - but give them the credit, they were excellent. They kept the ball and created chances. I think the game was totally equal. At moments we lost the ball, they were really quick.

“But when we dropped deeper with ten when LJ went out, they had to do a little more and they struggled I think.”

Jack Lacey-Hatton

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