“We are not defined by one player” – Bethany England on Lauren James suspension
The England women’s football team is set to face Colombia in the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup in Sydney. The team, who are the reigning European champions, had a close call in the last-16 match against Nigeria and are aware that they need to improve their performance against Colombia, who caused an upset by defeating Germany in the group stages. However, England will have to do without star forward Lauren James, who has been suspended for the quarter-final after she stamped on the back of Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie.
Before facing Colombia, the Lionesses will find out who their potential opponents will be in the semi-finals, as hosts Australia take on France in another quarter-final match. This year’s Women’s World Cup will see a new champion as Sweden eliminated Japan in the quarter-finals, setting up a clash with Spain in the semi-finals.
England’s defence, which has yet to concede a goal from open play in the tournament, has received praise from goalkeeper Mary Earps. She believes that the team still has room for improvement and is confident that the best is yet to come. Earps also emphasized the wealth of talent and experience in the team, both at the international level and with the players’ respective club teams.
Head coach Sarina Wiegman acknowledged the absence of Lauren James but stated that the team will focus on the game and play as a cohesive unit. Wiegman commended Colombia for their strong team and powerful players, and mentioned that England has prepared for both their physicality and their unpredictable attacking style. Wiegman emphasized the importance of teamwork and the support the team provides to each other.
Following the elimination of the USA and Germany from the competition, England has now become the new favorite to win the Women’s World Cup. Bookmakers in the UK are offering odds of 3/1 on England lifting the trophy, putting them ahead of Spain, Japan, and France. However, England will have to navigate a challenging quarter-final clash against Colombia in Sydney.
Wiegman and her coaching staff have analyzed the last-16 match against Nigeria and have considered making changes to the team’s tactical approach. They expect a similar game against Colombia and are preparing for both the physicality and the fine qualities of the South American team. The tournament has become a grind for England, unlike their successful and free-flowing campaign in Euro 2022.
In terms of team news, England will be without Lauren James, who is serving a two-match suspension. Coach Sarina Wiegman will have to decide on a replacement for James and considers options such as Ella Toone and Chloe Kelly. Keira Walsh, despite returning from injury, may face competition from Katie Zelem in the midfield. The defense is expected to remain unchanged, but three players are currently on a yellow card and will be suspended for the semi-finals if they receive another booking.
The quarter-final match between England and Colombia will take place at Stadium Australia in Sydney, with kick-off at 11:30am BST. The match will be broadcast live on ITV 1 and ITV X, with coverage starting at 10:45am. The Lionesses are determined to improve their performances and secure a place in their first-ever Women’s World Cup final.