Michelle Alozie calls for Lauren James to be shown 'respect'
8th August 2023

Michelle Alozie calls for Lauren James to be shown ‘respect’ after England forward was sent off for stepping on her back during World Cup clash

  • Lionesses star was sent off for violent conduct after stepping on Alozie’s back
  • James could now miss the remainder of the tournament through suspension
  • But Alozie has tweeted that James should be shown ‘respect’ after the incident 

Michelle Alozie has called for Lauren James to be shown ‘respect’ after the England forward was sent off for stepping on her back during Monday’s World Cup clash.

James faces the prospect of a tournament-ending three-match ban for her sending off in the closing stages of normal time in Monday’s last-16 tie, which ended with England beating Nigeria on penalties.

Alozie tweeted she understood why James acted as she did in the pressure environment of a World Cup knockout game.

‘Abeg, rest. We are playing on the world’s stage. This game is one of passion, insurmountable emotions, and moments. All respect for Lauren James,’ she wrote.

Alozie, 26, also posted a picture of James standing on her back and captioned it ‘life.’

England star Lauren James (top) was sent off for stamping on Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie (bottom) during the closing stages of normal time in the World Cup last-16 encounter

Alozie tweeted a picture of the incident and captioned it ‘life’ after Nigeria’s World Cup exit

She also called for James to be shown ‘respect’ following her moment of madness 

Speaking after England won the penalty shoot-out 4-2, having clung on through extra time with 10 players, Alozie said there were ‘no hard feelings.’

‘It was good for us. James is a really good player and nullifying her was really big for us,’ she said.

‘We didn’t want her to move freely and get those shots off that she usually does. It was good for us to have her taken out of the game.

‘I was a little bit surprised by her reaction to the tackle. I don’t think it was really needed.

‘I’m fine, my butt is fine from her stepping on it! I was kind of confused initially.

‘I didn’t understand what was going on at first. There’s no hard feelings, it’s just a game.’

England will play either Colombia or Jamaica in the quarter-finals and James will be suspended for that match at least as FIFA’s disciplinary committee meet to decide whether to extend the ban to three matches.

That would see her miss the rest of the tournament if the Lionesses reach their first-ever final.

Lauren James will miss one-match but her ban is likely to be increased to three games

Lucy Bronze headed straight off the pitch after England’s win to console the ‘upset’ James

James restricted comments on her Instagram account to avoid a backlash in the aftermath of the sending off, with team-mate Lucy Bronze revealing she went straight into the dressing room to console her after the shoot-out win. 

Bronze said: ‘Obviously she’s going to be disappointed in herself. I went straight off the pitch after the game to make sure she was OK.

‘Obviously she was a little bit upset and rightfully so and more than anything she just feels bad for the team. I said to her, ‘We’ve made it through. It’s a team, it’s not just one player.”

James is the younger sister of Chelsea and England defender Reece James, and said before the tournament that she hoped to use the World Cup to carve out an identity separate from her sibling, whose name is regularly mentioned in tandem with hers but rarely, if ever, vice versa.

She had begun to do so in stunning style before she was sent off in the 87th minute of Monday night’s match-up, scoring the only goal in England’s 1-0 group stage victory over Denmark before netting two and picking up three assists in the Lionesses’ 6-1 win over China, in the process becoming the only England player of either gender to contribute to five goals in a single World Cup contest.

England won on penalties to reach the last eight despite playing extra time a player short

England coach Sarina Wiegman said James will learn a ‘huge lesson’ from her moment of madness. 

‘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.’

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