The ongoing Women FIFA World Cup 2023 in Australia and New Zealand has been characterized by many happenings. The one, that has attracted global attention is the intentional stamping of Michelle Alozie at the back by English striker, Lauren James during the round of 16 football match between the Three Lionesses of England and Super Falcons of Nigeria in Brisbane.
The scene went viral and received wild condemnation by many who believed that the infringement was awful and a racist attack. It was even condemnable when it was an attack from a black English player on another black player from Nigeria.
Some sections of the English press barely condemn Lauren’s action, thanks to the 4-2 penalty victory England recorded over Nigeria after a barren draw.
Interestingly, Lauren who received red car because of the action from the referee and FIFA’s two – match ban has apologized to Alozie over the incident on her Instagram page.
@laurenjames wrote: All my love and respect to you. I am sorry for what happened. Also, for our team-mates, playing with and for you is my great honour and I promise to learn from my experience.
Many people have also commended Alozie for her spirit of forgiveness when she replied Lauren on her Instagram handle by saying, @alozieee abeg, rest. We are playing on the world stage. This game is one of passion, insurmountable emotions and moments. All respect for Lauren James.
While Lauren and Alozie have put that behind them, analyst say, Lauren’s action and the fallout should make her a better player in future.
Speaking, an Englishwoman, and football analyst, Sarina Wiegman said, She’s an inexperienced player on this stage, and she’s done really well, and I think in a split of second she just lost her emotions. Of course, she doesn’t want to hurt anyone, and she’s the sweetest person I know.”
Many other football analysts believe that two-match ban FIFA slammed on Lauren is pretty two low, as ordinarily FIFA will slam more than two-match ban if it were to be a male counterpart. They said why that of Laurent’s is different is unexplainable.
To Sola Olumuyiwa, “I was expecting FIFA to slam up to three or four-match ban on her, because it was an intentional action. One can see that Lauren lost the ball, Alozie was on ground before Lauren stepped on her back. That is a spinal cord injury she wanted to inflict on her.
Seun Ajidagba, a sport journalist and commentator shared the same opinion on his Twitter handle, saying that the punishment by FIFA should be more than that because that can affect her spinal cord.
Football commentators are watching whether FIFA will revisit and increase the two-match ban slammed on Lauren for the magnitude of infringement on Alozie.
It will be recalled that the European champions were reduced to 10 women when star-girl Lauren James was red-carded minutes to the end of the encounter at Brisbane’s Lang Park. Lauren James stamped Alozie on the back, an action which attracted two-match ban.
The red card left the three Lionesses 10 players on the pitch and the Super Falcons revved up the engine to make the advantage count.
Both teams missed their first kicks in the shoot-out, with Desire Oparanozie, who was playing her first minutes in the competition, dragging her effort too wide to the right of Earps.
Hardworking defender Michelle Alozie blasted her kick wide, and though Ajibade and Ucheibe made no mistake from the spot, the Three Lionesses also made no more mistakes and reached the quarter-finals, to play the winner of the encounter with Colombia in the quarter final.
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