Lionesses praised for ‘classy’ response as they comfort Nigeria keeper immediately after penalty win
Lauren James might have had a moment to forget on Monday, but the rest of the squad showed what a great bunch they are.
England’s women’s team scraped through to the 2023 Women’s World Cup quarter-finals by the skin of their teeth on Monday following a nerve-racking penalty shootout, but it was the Lionesses’ behaviour afterwards as they comforted Nigeria’s keeper that warmed the hearts of even more fans.
Sarina Wiegman‘s side looked like they might fall short of the mark after they couldn’t get a result inside 90 minutes or extra time, especially having gone down to 10 players once Lauren James received a red card for stamping on an opponent but, fortunately, they somehow managed to survive the shootout.
Moments after Chloe Kelly rifled the winning penalty into the back of the net, the Nigerian goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie was left in tears on the pitch as her national side’s tournament run came to a bitter end, at which point the Lionesses star immediately went over to check on her.
Joined by her Manchester City colleague Alex Greenwood, the duo helped console an understandably emotional Nnadozie, with the Euro 2022 and Finalissima-winning goalscorer urging the cameras to stop filming the visibly upset shot-stopper.
Heartwarming stuff from the girls.
As you would expect, the reaction online has been overwhelmingly positive, with people labelling it a “lovely touch” from the team and insisting that “we don’t deserve them”.
The sentiment is clear: it was a classy moment from the Lionesses who continue to unite the country and stand a strong chance of boasting not only the title of European Champions but calling themselves World Cup winners within the next 12 days.
We can only hope.
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Naturally, there were plenty online that did take issue with the narrative and general applauding of their behaviour in light of the stamp and sending off, which both the Lionesses and James herself have now apologised for, but most seemed to understand that it was not indicative of the overarching values the team usually stand for.
Even the player who was the victim of the stamp, Michelle Alozie, put the incident in context by insisting: “This game is one of passion, insurmountable emotions and moments. All respect for Lauren James.”
England are now set to face Colombia at 11:30am on Saturday, 12 August for a place in the semi-finals where they play will either host nation Australia or France.
To get yourself in the tournament spirit, you can check out the time we met Alex Greenwood and she spoke passionately about the importance and growing profile of the women’s game down below:
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Featured Image — BBC Sport/Ayinde Halimatu