Lionesses without their top scorer as dangerous quarter-final against Colombia looms

todayAugust 13, 2023 4

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Lionesses without their top scorer as dangerous quarter-final against Colombia looms

Smart stops. Rapid reflexes. Acrobatic agility.

Without Mary Earps, would England be here in a World Cup quarter-final?

With three clean sheets in four games and Monday’s penalty shootout success against Nigeria, the goalkeeper is a Lioness being lauded.

“I try to block out as much of the noise as possible,” Earps said ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Colombia. “But I very much hope that they’re praising goalkeepers. I think the performances have been fantastic and deserve a lot of credit.”

But if you want to replicate the Earps look, you cannot. England goalkeepers’ jerseys are still not sold to the public – an anomaly more than 37,000 people have signed a petition urging Nike to reverse.

“It did tickle me that I’ve got to say,” Earps said. “I know that it is being looked into by the relevant parties at various levels and it will be a conversation that we pick up post-tournament.

“But I just want to thank everyone for their support on that.”

This support will only grow if the European champions can beat Colombia at Stadium Australia in Sydney and reach a third consecutive Women’s World Cup semi-final.

Colombia have never made it to the quarter-finals before. But they’ve already helped to knock out two-time champions Germany.

Read more:
Lauren James apologises to Nigerian player after red card
Wiegman turning over every stone to find a path to World Cup glory

England player s celebrate winning the penalty shootout during the FIFA Women's World Cup, Round of 16 match at Brisbane Stadium, Australia. Picture date: Monday August 7, 2023.

The Lionesses celebrate winning their penalty shootout win over Nigeria

England will have to cope without top scorer

The Lionesses will also have to cope without tournament top scorer Lauren James who is starting a two-match suspension for a stamp against Nigeria.

“Lauren is doing fine,” Earps said. “Obviously, what she did was wrong and she knows it was wrong. She apologised for it publicly. Now she faces the consequences.

“As a team we stick together and we stand behind her in that.”

Replacing her goals could determine England’s progress – James has scored three of the eight scored.

England players during a huddle before the FIFA Women's World Cup, Round of 16 match at Brisbane Stadium, Australia. Picture date: Monday August 7, 2023.

‘You’ve seen glimpses of what we’re capable of’

Aside from the 6-1 thrashing of China, England have only secured 1-0 wins over Haiti and Denmark and the match against Nigeria was goalless after 120 minutes – thanks to Earps’ saves.

The 2022 European Championship winner said: “I don’t think we’ve been bad by any means, but you’ve seen glimpses of what we’re capable of. We know and understand where we want to get to. We know we can give more.”

Without having to go through penalties again – as were required to get past Nigeria.


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‘Not one game is easy for anyone’

England manager Sarina Wiegman said: “I hope we don’t have that much stress. We’ve seen in this tournament that not one game is easy for anyone. It is so competitive.

“That’s the beauty of the game too. It’s also the beauty of the growth of women’s football.”

That growth is reflected by the fact this Women’s World Cup will have a first-time champion.

The last former champions standing – 2011 winners Japan – have been toppled by Sweden, who previously knocked out the holders from the US.

The 2019 runners-up were also sent packing with the Netherlands beaten 2-1 by Spain, who reached their first Women’s World Cup semi-final at only their third tournament appearance.

“You can see how tight these games have been in this tournament,” Earps said. “The level of teams that have left the competition. I think that just shows what an incredible place that the women’s game is in.”

Written by: Newsroom

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