England Women manager Sarina Wiegman says Lauren James ‘lost her emotions’ to earn red card against Nigeria

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Lauren James cut a frustrated figure throughout the game against Nigeria, before being sent off
Lauren James cut a frustrated figure throughout the game against Nigeria, before being sent off

Lauren James has apologised for the red card which will rule her out of England’s World Cup quarter-final against Colombia.

Head coach Sarina Wiegman said the forward “lost her emotions” when she made a reckless challenge on Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie, in which she stamped on the Nigerian’s back as the two tried to get up from a tussle.

James’ ban could yet stretch further depending on England’s progression and whether FIFA decides to increase the punishment.

“All my love and respect to you. I am sorry for what happened,” James said on social media, replying to a message from Alozie.

“Also, for our England fans and my team-mates, playing with and for you is my greatest honour and I promise to learn from my experience.”

The dismissal had echoes of David Beckham’s and Wayne Rooney’s red cards from the 1998 and 2006 World Cups respectively – England’s standout young star and player of the tournament so far stopped in their tracks by a moment of madness.

But England boss Wiegman says despite emotions getting the better of the 21-year-old, James never intended for the incident to happen.

“It was a moment of a split-second and it was later in the game so players also get a little tired. She is an inexperienced player on this stage and has done really well,” she said.

“And I think, in a split-second, she just lost her emotions. And, of course, she does not want to hurt anyone. She is the sweetest person I know.

“Yet then things happen like that and you cannot change it any more. So it is a huge lesson for her to learn, but it is not something that she really did on purpose.

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“It happens sometimes with human beings – that you are in such an intense game, such an emotional game and, in a split-second, she lost her emotions.

“She apologised and she felt really, really bad and absolutely she does not want to hurt anyone.”

While James’ sending off was petulant at best, it would not have been the turning point if England had been knocked out. They toiled through the goalless last-16 fixture in Brisbane, and were lucky to reach a penalty shootout, ultimately won by Chloe Kelly’s deciding kick.

But Wiegman was still pleased with how England reacted after James’ sending off, adding: “I am really proud of the team. We have had many setbacks. I think this was a big one too.

“So, as soon as it looked like Lauren James was sent off, we straight away had to re-organise and do something else on the pitch.

“Then the conviction to keep [the score] to 0-0 and to try to get out of their press, that was just incredible. The players got really, really tired, but we really stuck together and showed a lot of resilience.

“When you are so tired and then go into a penalty shootout and do so well, I think that is really incredible how the team did.”

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