England won despite a red card that ejected star Lauren James to beat Nigeria on penalty kicks and advance to the quarterfinals at the Women’s World Cup
ByJOHN PYE AP Sports Writer
BRISBANE, Australia — England won without star Lauren James, who was ejected with a red card, to beat Nigeria on penalty kicks Monday and advance to the quarterfinals at the Women’s World Cup.
The round of 16 match ended 0-0 after regulation and extra time, giving Nigeria a chance to win a knockout match at the Women’s World Cup for the first time in nine trips to the global tournament.
But European champion England won the shootout 4-2, missing only one attempt.
England became the title favorite after the defending champion U.S. team was eliminated Sunday in a penalty shootout loss to Sweden. But England struggled to create opportunities against Nigeria’s defense.
Matters were made worse for England five minutes from regulation time when star forward James was ejected, after a VAR review, for violent conduct after stomping on a Nigeria defender.
She initially was shown a yellow card by referee Melissa Borjas after falling on top of Michelle Alozie and stepping on her with her studs after getting back to her feet. The crowd groaned as slow-motion replays were shown on the stadium screens and, after a delay of several minutes, the yellow card was canceled and replaced with a red card.
British media instantly reacted by comparing it with David Beckham’s red card for kicking out at Argentina’s Diego Simeone at the 1998 World Cup in France. The red card means James will miss at least one game, and possibly the rest of the tournament.
The Lionesses immediately had to change formation in the 10-on-11 scenario, bringing on Chloe Kelly to play a solo role up front.
Alozie was clear eight minutes into stoppage time but couldn’t control a left-foot shot from seven yards and skewed it wide of the post.
Veteran forward Asisat Oshoala forced a save from England goalkeeper Mary Earps when she spun and fired a left-foot shot minutes from the end of extra time.
England will meet Colombia or Jamaica in Sydney next Saturday in the quarterfinals.
More AP Women’s World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/fifa-womens-world-cup