The Super Falcons of Nigeria took a bow out of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand after losing out on penalties to the Three Lionesses of England.
However, the red card case regarding Lauren James stamping on Michelle Alozie in regulation time remained talking point.
Before the knockout game, England’s Lauren James posed a lethal threat to the progression of the Super Falcons, and it was expected that coach Randy Waldrum would prepare a marker for her.
As evident in the game, Halimatu Ayinde was the woman on the mission, as she did her job to the letter, successfully nullifying every move made by the 21-year-old English winger for over an hour of football played at the Lang Park Arena.
On other occasions, Lauren James, who played more from the left flank for England, also faced the Super Falcons’ right back Michelle Alozie, as the latter also won duels to keep James quiet.
Things became heated in split seconds when Alozie successfully intercepted a counter-attack from the English team in the 86th minute with Lauren James at the center of the transition.
The timely intervention surely did not go down well with James as she grew increasingly frustrated in the game towards the closing period of regular time, as she lashed out by intentionally stepping on Alozie’s backside while the Nigerian defender was still on the turf.
Sarina Wiegman, coach of the Three Lionesses, has reacted to James’ dismissal, citing inexperience and emotions as reasons for the unsportsmanlike act.
“She’s an inexperienced player on this stage, and she’s done well, and in split seconds she lost her emotions.
“Ofcos she doesn’t want to hurt anyone, as she’s the sweetest person I know.”
The referee’s decision could see Lauren James technically out of the World Cup if eventually slammed with a 3-match ban considering the English team’s quarterfinal qualification.