tom hamiltonSenior Author4 Minutes Reading
SYDNEY — Lauren James has apologized for England’s actions that led to her receiving a red card against Nigeria in the Women’s World Cup round of 16 match, and has the FA’s support as she awaits FIFA’s decision on the suspension.
In the 87th minute of England’s Round of 16 match against Nigeria, James was shown a red card after he was seen kicking Michelle Alozie in the back. England eventually got through the tough draw 4-2 on penalties but had to manage overtime with 10 players.
James has been suspended for England’s quarter-final against Colombia on Saturday, and FIFA could extend this ban by a maximum of two games depending on how the disciplinary committee assesses the seriousness of the offense.
The 21-year-old actress has since posted an apology on her Instagram account: “With all my love and respect. [Michelle Alozie]. I’m sorry for what happened.
“Furthermore, for our England fans and teammates, it is my greatest honor to play with you and for you and I promise to learn from my experiences.”
The FA later released a statement on Tuesday, saying: “Lauren is truly sorry and full of regret for her actions that led to the red card. It’s completely against her character.
“We will support Lauren from start to finish and represent on her behalf. We fully respect FIFA’s disciplinary process and will make no further comments until a decision is made.”
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FIFA’s decision could come after England’s quarter-final match against Colombia.
James’ apology came 24 hours after England’s tense win over Nigeria. James, 21, was the star of his wins against Denmark and China in the pool stages, but the red card will at least get him suspended for the quarterfinals.
Speaking after the match, England captain Millie Bright, who is James’ teammate with both Lionesses and Chelsea, said the team will come together around James.
“This is football. Listen, I’ve had red cards. Everyone experiences it as a player, everyone on the world stage,” said Bright. “But for me, it’s not a situation that requires a lot of light to shine.
“It happened. It’s in the past. We’re done. The important thing is that we come together as a group, back each other, and that’s another challenge the players have to face. Come back completely and we’ll prepare for the next game.”
Bright added, “I think it’s really important that we take care of each other. I’ve had that. I know exactly what it feels like. I think it’s important for her to have a space of her own and let her feelings settle in. But it’s over, we move on. We’re done.”
Lucy Bronze has taken James under her wing ever since she became part of the Lionesses team, and the Barcelona star went to visit James to check on how he was doing as soon as the penalties were over.
“He’s a very talented player, we all know that, and we were very upset to lose a player of his caliber in the next game,” Bronze said. “No one will be as disappointed as LJ. It’s important to support him.
“Although LJ is the youngest on the team, he had to mature from a young age because whether it was his brother or being the center of attention. [Chelsea and England player Reece James] and he is a great actor with his family or on his own.
“Everyone was focused on him in the last game, he handles it very, very well. He likes hanging out with older players, me, Jordan. [Nobbs]Alex Greenwood, we’re three people he came to for advice.
“Obviously he’s going to let himself down. I went off the field after the game to make sure he was okay. He was obviously a little upset and he was right, and more than anything, he feels sorry for the team. I told him: We got through this, it’s a team, not just a player.”
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