Laura Woods has come to the defense of Lauren James following her red card at the Women’s World Cup. James, who has been a standout player for England throughout the tournament, had a moment to forget when she lost her cool and stamped on Nigeria star Michelle Alozie. This resulted in her being sent off and leaving her team with only 10 players on the pitch for the remainder of the match.
While some fans were quick to criticize James for her mistake, Woods was not having any of it. She responded to a fan who blamed James for a potential elimination by stating, “We’re only through because of her! Please don’t start this narrative. Yes, it was a silly foul, but there’s a reason everyone has been talking about her. She’s a huge talent, it’s her first World Cup, and she’s under enormous pressure. She’s human.”
Another supporter compared James’ situation to David Beckham’s infamous kick-out at Diego Simeone during the 1998 World Cup. Woods pointed out that Beckham faced severe media and fan backlash, even having an effigy of him hung. She emphasized that such overreactions should be avoided with James.
Woods agreed with a supporter who argued against solely blaming a 19-year-old player and acknowledged that England had struggled as a team throughout the game.
Fortunately, despite their less-than-stellar performance, England managed to hold their nerve and advance to the quarter-finals of the competition.
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In the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup round of 16 match between England and Nigeria on Wednesday, English forward Laura Woods leaped to the defense of her Lionesses teammate, Lauren James, when she was sent off the field for a foul that the referee had deemed violent.
Woods reacted immediately, running straight to the referee and fiercely defending her teammate. The West Ham United player put her arm around the Manchester United midfielder, validating and calming her. While the referee was unmoved, Woods’ gesture spoke volumes of the bond and trust developing in this Lionesses side.
The English team have become renowned throughout the tournament for the camaraderie and strength of the team bond.
James’s shove had come during the tense last few minutes of the match, with the score at a draw and the game heading to extra time. However, Woods’ unwavering loyalty to her team and support for her friend resonated with fans watching around the world. This showed just how strong the bond between these Lionesses has become.
The strength of the team’s bond has been evident throughout the tournament, with the respect and admiration that these players have for one another and the drive to win that motivates them. Woods does not often feature in England’s starting line up, but this moment showcased why she is so important to the team.
The match went to penalties, in which England triumphed 3-0 to book their place in the quarter-finals. Woods was praised by fans and players alike for her show of loyalty as she was arguably seen as a driving force behind the team despite being on the sidelines.
The bond between this new generation of Lionesses has been credited with bringing together a team of diverse characters and a new level of team spirit that is evident throughout their plays and their presence off the pitch. On Wednesday, this bond was showcased with one simple act of friendship as Laura Woods leaped to Lauren James’ defense in the heat of the moment.