2 Polar Opposite Moments Which Defined The Lionesses' Victory Against Nigeria

A low moment for sportsmanship, followed by an unexpected high.
Lauren James of England stamps on Michelle Alozie of Nigeria before getting a red card.
Lauren James of England stamps on Michelle Alozie of Nigeria before getting a red card.
Elsa - FIFA via Getty Images

England’s Lionesses just secured their place in quarter finals of the Women’s World Cup – but they had to get through a particularly eventful match to get there.

The team only beat Nigeria following a draining game which went to an emotional penalty shoot out – the Lionesses unexpectedly won 4-2 in Brisbane.

It came after an especially tense moment on the pitch where Lioness Lauren James lost her cool when she lost possession the ball – and then stood on Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie’s back while she was lying down on the pitch in the 87th minute.

(Alozie’s rightfully bewildered – if slightly amused – expression quickly became an internet meme.)

James was quickly shown a red card after the moment was caught on a video assistant referee review.

It added stress to an already nail-biting match, as the Lionesses went to extra time with only 10 players.

The Lionesses might be the European champions, having clinched the title for the first time last year, but Nigeria are nine-time African champions – so it was always going to be a difficult match.

BBC Sport also pointed out that James will now miss out on Saturday’s quarter-finals, and, if Fifa could give her a longer suspension, too.

That’s a worry for the team, because she has been the Lionesses’ leading scorer throughout the tournament so far.

However, once the Lionesses managed to turn their luck around in the penalty shoot-out, player Chloe Kelly seemed to try and make up for the earlier tension.

As soon as she scored the winning penalty, she rushed over to the goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie who was lying on the floor with her hands over her face.

Kelly was joined by Lioness Alex Greenwood, and together they encouraged Nnadozie, who was in tears, to stand up. Kelly also put her hand up to deter the camera which had come over to capture the moment, trying to offer her fellow footballer a moment of privacy.

Kelly already won over plenty of fans last year after she secured the final goal in in a history-making Euro championships final.

To make it even more iconic, she then ran around the pitch in her sports bra, in yet another defining moment for women’s sports.

The Lionesses’ success means England will go on to face Colombia or Jamaica at 11.30 BST on Saturday.


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