BRISBANE, Australia (AP)

England secured a spot in the quarterfinals at the Women’s World Cup in a thrilling match against Nigeria. Despite losing star player Lauren James to a red card, England emerged victorious in a penalty shootout, winning 4-2.

The round of 16 match ended in a 0-0 draw after regulation and extra time, giving Nigeria a chance to make history by winning their first-ever knockout match at the Women’s World Cup.

However, it was England who prevailed, showcasing their determination and skill. The defending champion U.S. team’s elimination on Sunday made England the favorite to win the tournament.

Throughout the game, England faced a tough challenge from Nigeria’s formidable defense, struggling to create scoring opportunities. But despite these obstacles, they managed to stay resilient and composed.

As the match approached its conclusion, England encountered another setback when their star forward, Lauren James, was shown a red card for violent conduct. After a VAR review, it was determined that she had stomped on a Nigeria defender. This incident drew comparisons to David Beckham’s infamous red card during the 1998 World Cup.

With only ten players on the field, the Lionesses had to quickly adapt their formation. Chloe Kelly was brought on to fill the void and take up a solo role up front.

In the closing minutes of extra time, both teams had opportunities to secure victory. Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie missed a left-foot shot from seven yards, while England goalkeeper Mary Earps made a crucial save against veteran forward Asisat Oshoala.

With this win, England now looks forward to their quarterfinal match against either Colombia or Jamaica in Sydney next Saturday.

The journey continues for the Lionesses as they aim to make their mark in this year’s Women’s World Cup.

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