Lauren James publicly apologised for her controversial World Cup red card and has been defended by the Football Association for her “out of character” actions.

On Tuesday, England scraped through their last-16 tie against Nigeria, despite James’s moment of frustration when she stamped on one of the African team’s players.

Now, just over 24 hours on from the incident, England’s breakout star of the tournament directly apologised to Michelle Alozie, the Nigeria player she fouled.

“All my love and respect to you. I am sorry for what happened,” James tweeted in reply to Alozie’s comments about the incident. “Also, for our England fans and my team-mates, playing with and for you is my greatest honour and I promise to learn from my experience.”

James, 21, was incredibly lucky that the decision did not cost the Lionesses, as the 10 remaining players held on to win on penalties.

But her own future in the tournament hangs in the balance, as Fifa could yet ban her for three matches for violent conduct, effectively ending her World Cup. A decision is expected in the next few days, and will be made by the disciplinary committee.

On Tuesday the FA said they will “put forward representation” on James’s behalf, adding that she had their full support.

“Lauren is really sorry for her actions which led to the red card and is full of remorse,” an FA statement read. “It is wholly out of character for her. We will be supporting Lauren throughout and will be putting forward representation on her behalf. We fully respect Fifa’s disciplinary process and will not be making any further comment until after any decision has been made.”

The response to James’s actions has been huge, with many drawing parallels between her red card and England men’s players David Beckham and Wayne Rooney, who both saw red for violent conduct at World Cups in 1998 and 2006 respectively.

Bright: ‘We have got Lauren’s back completely’

James’s opponent Alozie led the calls for calm. “Abeg, rest,” she tweeted on Monday. “We are playing on the world’s stage. This game is one of passion, insurmountable emotions, and moments. All respect for Lauren James.”

The England team are also rallying around James, with captain Millie Bright – who was sent off at the 2019 World Cup semi-final after receiving two yellow cards – leading the support.

“It’s football,” she said. “Listen, I have had red cards. Everyone goes through it as a player, everyone goes through it on the world stage. But for me, it’s not a situation that needs too much light shining on it. It’s happened. It’s in the past. We are through.

“All that matters is we come together as a group, we have each others’ backs, and it is just another challenge in football that the player has to face. But we have got her back [James] completely and we will get ready for the next game.

“It is really important that we look after each other. I have been through that. I know exactly how that feels. I think it is important that she has her space and lets her emotions settle. But it’s done now, we move on.”

Nigeria call on federation to honour financial commitments

Nigeria, who flew home on Tuesday following their loss to England on penalties and their against-the-odds run to the last 16, have publicly called on the Nigerian Football Federation to pay them money they say they’ve been owed for two years. The squad described the matter as “extremely frustrating”.

In a joint statement released with the world players’ union, FIFPRO, on Tuesday, the Nigerian team said the union was “assisting players in a disagreement with the NFF concerning bonus payments, camp allowances and expenses, some of which date back to 2021”. It added: “During the World Cup, the players expressed the desire to remain focused on their performance without making public statements or facing other distractions.

“However, the Super Falcons believe that it is now time for the NFF to honour their commitments and pay the outstanding amounts. The team is extremely frustrated that they have had to pursue the NFF for these payments before and during the tournament and may have to continue doing so afterwards. It is regrettable that players needed to challenge their own federation at such an important time in their careers.”

Their head coach Randy Waldrum had spoken up for the team on podcasts prior to the tournament, calling on the NFF to pay him and the players overdue money. The NFF’s communications director responded by calling Randrum “Mr Blabbermouth”.