England are hoping to make it three from three when they take on Japan in the Women’s World Cup on Wednesday night.
Phil Neville’s side have effectively beaten Scotland and Argentina in Group D and will secure top spot on the off chance that they avoid defeat at the Allianz Riviera.
The Lionesses are growing in certainty under Neville, with Nikita Parris and Ellen White scoring against Scotland and Jodie Taylor scoring against Argentina.
The England manager must choose whether to pivot to stay new for the knock-out phase or maintain their momentum.
Predicted England line-up
Starting XI: Bardsley, Bronze, Houghton, McManus, Greenwood, Moore, Parris, Scott, Kirby, Duggan, Taylor.
Match Prediction: Japan 0-2 England
The Lionesses surrendered to defeat against Japan in heart-breaking fashion at the last World Cup, losing 2-1 in the semi-finals by means of a stoppage-time possess goal. From that point forward, England have developed from solidarity to quality and rose as one of the game’s best groups. They remarkably beat Japan 3-0 at the She Believes Cup and now have the chance to reap revenge for the pain of their last World Cup outing.
Having shown their development and levelheadedness to beat Argentina 1-0 win, England’s place in the knockout stages of the competition is secured. Maintaining a strategic distance from destruction against Japan on Wednesday would see them top Group D and proceed to face China, Chile or Cameroon in the last-16 – a kind draw that would put them in good stead for the later stages of the tournament.
Japan represent a more noteworthy danger than either Scotland or Argentina yet with certainty riding high, and capability out of the group stages effectively wrapped up, hope to see a free and expressive England side take to the field. Their ownership based, tolerant style of play implies this is probably not going to be a high-scoring undertaking yet with any semblance of Fran Kirby, Beth Mead and Jodie Taylor threatening against Argentina, there’s no doubt Phil Neville’s women will be looking to take the game to their Japanese opponents.
When is it?
England vs Japan kicks off at 8pm (BST) on Wednesday 19 June at the Allianz Riviera, Nice.
Where can I watch it?
Toni Duggan will be available to face Japan after overcoming a thigh problem which has kept her out of the tournament so far.
Millie Bright dropped to the seat against Argentina in the wake of getting shoulder injury against Scotland, but she should be fit to start once more. Demi Stokes also remained on the bench while recovering from a knee problem but, again, she should be ready come Wednesday.