Lauren James World Cup 2023Getty

WATCH: Lauren James goes from hero to villain as England star is sent off for 'Beckham-esque' stamp during Women's World Cup last-16 clash with Nigeria

  • England faced Nigeria in last 16
  • James sent off late on
  • Shades of David Beckham in 1998

WHAT HAPPENED? The Lionesses' World Cup hopes suffered a blow in the last 16 when James was sent off late in the game. The tie was level at 0-0 when James saw red for a reckless stamp on Michelle Alozie. The Chelsea star was initially booked for the challenge but the referee upgraded to a red card following a VAR check.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The challenge brought back memories of Beckham being sent off for England against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup, as noted by former Three Lions' striker and TV pundit Gary Lineker. "The Lionesses down to 10 as Lauren James has a Beckhamesque moment of madness," he wrote on social media.

England made it to the end of the 90 minutes with the scores still level and had to play extra-time with just 10 players before prevailing on penalties. James had been enjoying a fine World Cup until that point. The 21-year-old scored twice in the 6-1 victory over China and netted the only goal of the game against Denmark but will now be forced onto the sidelines after her red card.

WHAT'S NEXT? England's win propels the Lionesses into the quarter-finals and a tie against Colombia or Japan.