England have Colombia plan without James - Wiegman


Sarina Wiegman, Head Coach of England, speaks to the media in an England Press Conference during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 at Stadium Australia on August 11, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. 

England have a plan to take on Colombia in Saturday’s Women’s World Cup quarter-final without top scorer Lauren James, says manager Sarina Wiegman.

James, 21, was sent off in the last-16 penalty shootout victory over Nigeria and is now suspended for two games.

She scored three and assisted three goals in four matches but Wiegman says England “know how they want to fill that position”.

“Of course, she is still part of the squad,” Wiegman told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“[James] gets support from everyone. In a split second, she made a mistake and that cost her two games, and she regretted it straight away.

“It’s [towards] the end of the game, she is fatigued, she is inexperienced and sometimes things like that happen and that is part of life. The punishment is there, two games.

“Now she needs support from us and to learn from it. She is still part of our team, she just can’t play [on Saturday].”

England are favourites to win the Women’s World Cup following shock early exits for the USA, Germany, Canada and Brazil.

The Lionesses are also ranked 21 places higher than Colombia, but after surviving a scare against Nigeria in their last match, Wiegman expects a tough encounter at Stadium Australia in Sydney (11:30 BST kick-off).

“Of course, there is pressure,” she said. “There are two teams who are very good. We want to play our best game and they do, too. That’s how we approach it.”

England goalkeeper Mary Earps, who has kept three clean sheets so far, added: “We can take a lot of pride in the work that we’ve done so far but there’s still a long way we’d like to go.

“Some of our defensive work has been fantastic and long may it continue.”

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