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2023 Women’s World Cup: England beat Nigeria on penalties

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England’s journey in the Women’s World Cup has taken a nail-biting turn as they triumphed over Nigeria in a high-stakes match that saw them secure a spot in the quarter-finals after a dramatic penalty shootout.

Sarina Wiegman’s squad, despite being favored, found it tough to dominate the game throughout both halves. Nigeria’s resilience was on full display, leaving England counting their lucky stars when a powerful attempt by former Leicester City defender Ashleigh Plumptre ricocheted off the crossbar. While the match was far from one-sided, England found themselves embroiled in a VAR (Video Assistant Referee) controversy before the halftime whistle.

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Initially, the referee had awarded a penalty to England, following what appeared to be a foul on Rachel Daly. However, after consulting the monitor, the decision was overturned, leaving both teams grappling with uncertainty.

The second half mirrored the first, with Nigeria pressing on the gas and putting England’s Mary Earps and the Lionesses’ defense to the test. Tensions ran high, and a moment of frustration from Lauren James resulted in a red card, further complicating England’s pursuit.

Despite the return of star midfielder Keira Walsh, England failed to replicate the formidable form they had displayed against China in their previous match. The team appeared disjointed and somewhat adrift from their previous prowess. With a roster brimming with talent on the bench, Wiegman contemplated tactical changes in the latter half, eager to propel England to a quarter-final berth.

In a gripping face-off, Nigeria’s Super Falcons proved themselves the superior side on the field in Brisbane. Yet, England’s unwavering composure held firm, and the penalty shootout proved decisive. With a final score of 4-2, England emerged victorious, reserving their slot in the coveted last eight of the tournament.

The Lionesses had previously topped Group D, showcasing their mettle, while Nigeria secured the second spot in Group B. The two teams had locked horns only twice before in the competition, with England edging out a narrow 3-2 victory. As the Women’s World Cup journey advances, the Lionesses will seek to reignite their winning spark and make their mark in the forthcoming challenges on the road to glory.

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