By Dylan Bettencourt
Nigeria pushed England to their limits in a tense Women’s World Cup clash, but the English Lionesses emerged victorious in a dramatic penalty shootout to secure their place in the quarter-finals.
Despite losing Lauren James to a red card, England held their nerve to win the shootout, with Chloe Kelly scoring the winning kick.
Nigeria executed their gameplan to perfection, frustrating the European champions and posing a constant threat on the break.
They hit the crossbar twice and kept England goalkeeper Mary Earps busy throughout the match.
The Lionesses struggled to find their usual fluidity and were fortunate to reach extra time.
Lauren James’ petulant stamp on Michelle Alozie led to her being sent off, leaving England with 10 players for the rest of the match and the upcoming quarter-finals.
James has been a standout player for England in the tournament but will now miss the crucial next stage due to suspension.
England’s performance against Nigeria showed resilience and determination, qualities that have grown under coach Sarina Wiegman since her arrival in 2021.
Though they faced a challenging match, they managed to hold on and progress, joining the likes of the USA, who were knocked out the day before, in the quarter-finals.
The next test for England will be against Colombia or Jamaica in the quarter-finals.
Pictured above: Nigeria anxiously watching the penalty shootout