Every game at the FIFA Women's World Cup carries a weight of importance and Japan-England is no different, especially given both teams must subsequently face holders Germany. With that test to come, they will each view this second Group A as a must-win affair.
Although neither country boasts a record of achievement in FIFA
Women's World Cups, the presence of two impressive casts of
players has left both sets of supporters confident that their
fortunes could change on Chinese soil. In order for this to
transpire, however, victory at the Shanghai Hongkou Football
Stadium would appear imperative.
Japan will be looking to playmaker Homare Sawa for inspiration in attack but their defensive preparations have not been helped by doubts over the availability of Kyoko Yano, who was unable to train in the build-up to the game because of a stomach problem. For their part, England are expected to be at full strength, with Kelly Smith ready to underline why she is one of the most talked-about talents in the women's game.
Japan-England, Shanghai, 11 September, 20:00 (local time)
Having reach the world finals for the first time since 1995, England will be determined to make a flying start to their China 2007 campaign. Japan are out to end a record of six losses from six matches against European sides in FIFA Women's World Cups, a run in which they have failed to score.
Japan will locks horns with England at the FIFA Women's World Cup finals for the very first time on 11 September.
England are a big, physical team but we will try to beat them with our speed and dribbling skills and trying to find space behind defenders. As a team we think we have to win this game if we want to get out of the group - Shinobu Ohno, Japan forward
They are a good side and it will be a tough game, but we're not going to be too concerned about them. We need to go out there and play our own game. We've progressed so much recently that we have come here confident in ourselves - Faye White, England defender