Chloe Kelly in the R16 match between England and Nigeria in the Women's World Cup 2023, Australia
Chloe Kelly in the R16 match between England and Nigeria in the Women's World Cup 2023, Australia | (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Football | Women’s World Cup 2023 | England through on penalties

By Robert Wheeler

  • England beat Nigeria on penalties
  • Lauren James is shown a red card
  • Lionesses will play Colombia or Jamaica
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – Despite star player Lauren James being sent off, the Lionesses are through to the quarter-finals after defeating Nigeria on penalties.


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England has not performed to their best at this World Cup but they are winning despite when playing badly which is a good sign. Major tournaments are all about peaking at the right times and the Lionesses are still yet to reach their highest standards.

Nigeria were the better side today and could have won it in normal time. They came very close to scoring with Ashleigh Plumptre and Uchenna Kanu both hitting the woodwork. The Super Falcons’ chances were boosted when Lauren James was sent off -for a stamp on the back of Michelle Aloziein– in the 87th minute but the Lionesses managed to hang on to force a penalty shootout.

Georgia Stanway missed England’s first penalty but thankfully Nigeria did not take advantage of this, as they missed twice. The Lionesses heroine was once again Chloe Kelly who scored the decisive kick. Kelly netted the winning goal against Germany in the European Championship last year and converted the winning penalty against Brazil in the Finalissima. She once again showed that she is the player for the big occasions. 

In a post-match interview with the BBC, Kelly harked back to previous successes saying “This team is special. We did it in the Euros, we did it in the Finalissima, we keep pushing forward and there’s more to come from this team.”

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England faces Colombia or Jamaica in the quarter-finals without James who will be a huge miss. However, her suspension does give the opportunity for Ella Toone to return to the starting lineup.

Former England defender Anita Asante told BBC Radio 5 Live that the Lionesses must improve if they are to reach the semi-finals. She said “I think from either of their next opponents, Jamaica or Colombia, they can expect more of the same. England can’t rest from this performance, they definitely need to step it up for the next game.”

Despite England not impressing, there were many positives to take from the victory. A big plus is that Kiera Walsh returned after many suspected she would miss the rest of the tournament through injury. Walsh is key to the Lionesses misfield and for her to play 120 minutes is a massive boost to Sarina Wiegman‘s side.

England will play Colombia or Jamaica in the quarter-finals on Saturday, August 12, kick-off at 11:30.