England’s Lauren James has received a two-game ban for the red card she earned during the Lionesses’ World Cup game against Nigeria.
The 21-year-old was sent off for stepping on the back of Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie during the final minutes of the Round of 16 match, which England won on penalties. The red card came with an automatic one-game ban – plus the possibility of additional games being added.
On Thursday, FIFA increased the ban to two games, meaning James will miss the World Cup semifinals if England wins its quarterfinal game. The Lionesses are set to face Colombia at 6:30 a.m. ET Saturday.
James has been electric for England, leading the team with three goals and assisting on three more.
Following the incident, James apologized to Alozie on social media. Her teammates and coach also issued their support for the young forward, with England manager Sarina Wiegman chalking the moment up to “inexperience.”
“She is inexperienced on this stage and in a split-second lost her emotions. It isn’t something she did on purpose,” she said. “She apologized and felt really bad. She would never want to hurt someone. She is the sweetest person I know.”
And now the team is focused on moving forward without their star.
“We’re not defined by one player,” forward Beth England said before FIFA announced its decision. “I think it’s important that everyone’s there for her, and that we are there for her as a team and as a coaching staff. But ultimately, whatever decision they make, we have to unfortunately accept that and just get on with the game. There’s bigger things than just focusing on one player right now.”