Stanway, England’s fork, ran towards the ball and opened the penalty shootout in a bad way, with a cross shot that missed the goal. The selector Sarina Wiegman was adjusting her glasses and looking at the ground, a worried expression. Celebration of Nigeria, which finally saw the light after being unable to overcome the Ross although she ruled the entire stake, especially since the start of extra time because before the end of regulation time Lauren James saw the red card. But England has the faith and confidence to be the current European champion, also seven lives, because although their tournament so far has many grays, they always get away with it. As in the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane (Australia), where he has now become a quarterfinalist in the World Cup. English wow; African condemnation, a continent that continues without winning in a World Cup tie.
Mary Earps, Jess Carter, Alex Greenwood, Millie Bright, Georgia Stanway, Lucy Bronze, Rachel Daly, Keira Walsh, Lauren James, Lauren Hemp y Alessia Russo
Chiamaka Nnadozie, Michelle Alozie, Ashleigh Plumptre, Oluwatosin Demehin, Osinachi Ohale, Rasheedat Ajibade, Halimatu Ayinde, Toni Payne, Christy Ucheibe, Uchenna Kanu and Ifeoma Onumonu
Referee Melissa Borjas
red cards Lauren James (min. 86)
Without much football but possession, England did what they had been doing since the start of the competition, barely saved themselves: they beat Haiti (1-0) with a penalty goal -although it was in the replay because the goalkeeper went a little in the first shot that Stanway herself missed – and then prevailed over Denmark (1-0) thanks to the aim of James, who is the sister of Chelsea footballer, Recce James. Lots of sweating and some tremors. But against China, his game and his bite stood out, especially James, who once again signed two goals and gave away another three to seal a record in the World Cup with a 1-6; being a participant in six goals in the group stage, one every 37 minutes played. Three games, three wins – the only team along with Japan and Sweden – and 16 straight games scoring at least one goal, thus breaking Norway’s record of 15 between 1991 and 1999. There were, they said, reasons for England to uncork the bottle. “We are not afraid of anyone”, resolved Lucy Bronze, Barcelona and the national team winger; “Our qualities have been shown in the months and years that we have been playing together. We know what we are capable of.”
But Nigeria explained otherwise. Vertical football and second plays, also with many shots but with a crooked foot. Up to 18 times they tried the kick (for 11 of the English); only in two were they between the three sticks. The despair. But for all. Argument explained by James, who lost her mind, perhaps frustrated because the ball, for a day, seemed strange to her. Thus, after falling on the rival Alozie, he stepped on her back when he got back up and received the warning. But from the VAR room they demanded the attention of the referee, who was corrected. “After seeing the action, the yellow card is cancelled. It’s a red card, ”he said to the entire stadium, a measure that FIFA has promoted during this World Cup. But not even with those could Nigeria, as well structured as poorly finished, since neither Oshoala nor Aloize nor Kanu nor anyone hit the shot during extra time. So it came to the wheel of penalties. And everything took British accent.
It turns out that the captain and central Millie Bright, who says she is inspired by the Chelsea legend John Terry as a player and person, already took the first point, because she won the toss and because of how tense she was, she forgot to shake hands with the referees and their counterpart, goalkeeper Nnadozie. Then, Stanway failed but the rest made a target, the last one for Kelly, who almost did not allow herself to celebrate because she went to hug Nnadozie, who began to cry inconsolably next to the post. England, once again, remained on their feet, victory after victory that comes from winning the Euro Cup for a reason, even if some of them are rolled up their sleeves. And with that it is worth saying that in the six World Cups that he has participated he has always reached the knockout rounds, and that he intends to reach the semifinals as in the last two editions.
Nigeria will not do it, which could not defeat the African jinx in the World Cup, the continent’s teams unable to overcome a round of KO in the tournament. Although Nigeria reached the quarterfinals in 1999, they did so directly after the group stage, a match they lost to Brazil (3-4). Already in the round of 16, the same thing happened with Cameroon in 2015 (0-1 against China) and in 2019 (0-3 with England), an edition in which Nigeria also stumbled (0-3 against Germany). A penalty that England sealed again.
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