In a dominant display, England’s Lauren James led her team to a convincing 6-1 victory over China, securing their spot in the last 16 of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. James, who had an outstanding performance, contributed two goals and three assists, narrowly missing out on a brilliant Women’s World Cup hat-trick due to a VAR review.
Expressing her delight, James said, “Again, another day of what dreams are made of. I’m happy for the team and everyone’s buzzing. And yeah, we’re looking forward to going into the next round.”
The 21-year-old played a crucial role in the game, setting up Alessia Russo and Lauren Hemp before scoring a goal herself to make it 3-0 as halftime approached. She thought she had added another spectacular goal, but a VAR review ruled it out due to Lucy Bronze being offside in the build-up.
Despite the disappointment, James remained undeterred and found the back of the net again in the 65th minute. She also assisted Chloe Kelly for England’s fifth goal in a dominant performance that saw them finish the group stage with three victories, topping Group D. This victory sets up a last-16 clash with Nigeria in Brisbane on Monday.
Speaking about her impressive form, James said, “I think I’m just playing with freedom, feeling myself and just enjoying my football. I think tonight showed that, and so did the last game, and hopefully I can just continue doing that and take it into the next round.”
England coach Sarina Wiegman shifted the focus from James’ individual brilliance to the team’s collective performance. Wiegman praised the team’s connectivity and enjoyment on the field, emphasizing that the entire team was delighted by James’ success.
Regarding the tactical and personnel changes made for the final group game, Wiegman dismissed concerns that it would make England harder to analyze for Nigeria or other teams in the tournament. She acknowledged that every team has an analysis team that watches and predicts their playing style, and England is no exception.