England star Lauren James will be available to play again at the Women’s World Cup should the Lionesses reach the final, after Fifa’s disciplinary panel ruled that her sending off against Nigeria was not a serious act of foul play.
The 21-year-old, who has been her side’s player of the tournament so far, was shown a red card in the 87th minute of the last-16 win over Nigeria on Monday after stamping on the back of Michelle Alozie.
Despite being reduced to 10 players, England’s resolute rearguard held firm during extra-time before claiming a 4-2 victory in the shootout as Chloe Kelly netted an emphatic final spot-kick.
As a result of the red card, James was automatically suspended for England’s upcoming quarter-final against Colombia on Saturday while it had the potential to turn into a three-game ban – or more – if deemed violent conduct by Fifa’s disciplinary panel.
On Tuesday, England confirmed they had decided to appeal a lengthier ban and put forward representation on behalf of James, with Fifa now confirming the decision of the disciplinary hearing which concluded a two-game ban would suffice.
Sarina Wiegman must now shuffle her pack ahead of this weekend’s last eight showdown against rugged South American opposition but refused to condemn James in the aftermath of her act of petulance.
The England manager said: ‘I’ve spoken to her. I actually said [to her], “look, that happens sometimes with human beings,” that they are in such an intense game and such a high-intensity, emotional game, and in a split second she lost her emotions.
‘Of course she apologised and she felt really, really bad. Absolutely she doesn’t want to hurt anyone.
‘This was a moment, it was a split second, it was later in the game, so players also get a little tired, she’s an inexperienced player on this stage and she’s done really well.
‘I think in a split second she just lost her emotions. Of course she doesn’t want to hurt anyone, she’s the sweetest person I know.
‘Things happen like that, you can’t change it any more, it’s a huge lesson to learn but of course it’s not something she’s done on purpose.’
More to follow…
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news onFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Source: Read Full Article