England 0 Nigeria 0 (4-2 on pens): Lionesses survive scare to reach World Cup quarters after tense shootout & James red | The Sun

CHLOE KELLY became England’s big-game winner once again as she samshed in her spot-kick to help beat Nigeria 4-2 on pens in the World Cup last-16.

Lauren James’ needless red card for stamping on an opponent minutes from the end of normal time saw her side almost come a cropper against the African giants, with the forward now set to miss Saturday's quarter-final.

But the ten-player Lionesses denied the Super Falcons’ from becoming the competition’s latest giant killer, battling their way into the quarter-finals with a gritty shootout triumph.

The victory was their second via pens of recent times following their Women's Finalissima triumph in March.

The result saw Sarina Wiegman’s side, initially boosted by Keira Walsh’s rapid return from a knee injury, strengthen their place as one of the tournament favourites.

But Africa’s highest-ranked team in the contest pushed their opponents all the way with their fearless efforts, urged on by coach Randy Waldrum.


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While Nigeria’s preparations for the tournament have been overshadowed by an unpaid wages row with their federation, their players remained focused on the pitch.

And they came into this game looking unfazed by the challenge of attempting to upset another one of the tournament’s top guns.

After some early forays forward with Georgia Stanway getting into the box in the first minute, the Super Falcons began to settle into the duel, forcing a couple of early corners

And they came close to a 14th-minute opener with Alessia Russo forced to clear Michelle Alozie’s powerful header off the line.

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Moments later Ashleigh Plumptre crashed the crossbar with a thumping strike

And the Super Falcons defender – who was once an England Under-23s player – forced a stunning diving stop from Earps seconds later.

At the other end, Russo almost had some joy from Oluwatosin Demehin’s howler of a miss-kick before VAR drama once again came into play.

England thought they had a penalty after Rasheedat Babajide was spotted leaning on Rachel Daly, with the forward going down in the box.

But the referee ruled out the decision, much to the dismay of Daly and her team-mates and the joy of the raucous Super Falcon fans stood behind Earps’ goal.

England skipper Millie Bright denied Nigeria an opener with a brilliant block from a shot from Kanu before James sliced an effort wide.

The second spell was just as action-packed as the first with Kanu header over the bar and Waldrum bringing on star striker Asisat Oshoala in the 58th minute.


And Daly’s towering header came close to putting England in front before Demehin cleared the danger

But England’s tough night took a turn for the worse with Chelsea ace James sent off for a blatant stamp on Alozie in the 87th minute following a check by VAR.

The tense duel went to extra time with Alozie slicing wide and later involved in a penalty shout after going down in the box following a challenge from Bronze.

With Walsh unable to continue, Sarina Wiegman brought on Bethany England and Katie Zelem for the penalty shootout that followed.

Up stepped Georgia Stanway first who fired her effort wide. But Nigeria failed to capitalise with Desire Oparanozie blazing her effort wide.

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Bethany England made no mistake powering her strike cleanly above Nnadozie before Olozie skied hers. Daly converted hers before Babajide and Alex Greenwood netted with the score at 3-1.

Christy Uchiebe made it 3-2 for Nigeria. But Manchester City star Kelly made no mistake, firing England into the quarters.

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