Lauren James handed straight red card for stamping on Nigeria's Michelle Alozie
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England forward Lauren James was handed a straight red card for violent conduct in Monday's Women's World Cup round of 16 clash against Nigeria.
The 21-year-old forward has been one of England's standout performers this summer.
In fact, she dropped a masterclass last week as Sarina Wiegman's side booked their place in the Women's World Cup last-16 with a resounding 6-1 win over China.
But on Monday, the Chelsea forward had a game to forget at the Brisbane Stadium, when she appeared to deliberately stand on Michelle Alozie’s buttocks after they both went down.
As you can see in the footage below, James was initially handed a yellow card for the incident but that was soon amended to red after VAR told the referee to take a second look.
James, who has scored three goals at this summer's World Cup, looked devastated as she saw red. Wiegman, meanwhile, was forced to switch to a 4-4-1 formation as Chloe Kelly replaced Alessia Russo.
If the Three Lions manage to progress to the quarter-final stages then James will miss the rest of the tournament, with a three match ban set to be imposed.
The absence of such a key figure will be huge. Former England international Karen Carney was full of praise for James ahead of kick-off.
"Lauren James has been the best player at the World Cup so far, and I’m not surprised at all," she said at an event with Powerleague.
"Lauren is a vital player for England and her contributions to the games have been outstanding. We’ve all known about her talent and her ability.
"It was just about when the opportunities will come for the rest of the world to see what we’ve known for a long time. She’s been incredible and it looks effortless for her. We just need to give her the platform to do what she does best and support her in that.
"I’m not surprised how well Lauren James has been playing at her first World Cup. It’s good for her to come onto the scene raw, without knowing what a tournament like this feels like and the pressure that can come with it.
"Lauren seems to be relishing in it and we’re so lucky to have a talent like we have in her. She’s outstanding."
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