FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™

FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™

7 June - 7 July

FIFA Women's World Cup

Rivalry reprised as England and Japan vie for pole position

SheBelieves 2019 - Japan midfielder Yui Hasegawa (14) brings the ball up field against Beth Mead of England
© imago
  • Japan out to snatch top spot from familiar foes England
  • Scotland and Argentina need a win in Paris
  • THE LATEST: #JPNENG and #SCOARG Live Blogs updating now

England and Japan will be out to maintain their record of producing memorable FIFA Women’s World Cup™ encounters as they meet for the fourth successive edition on Wednesday.

From the quality produced by Kelly Smith and Aya Miyama in 2007 to the drama and emotion of Laura Bassett’s semi-final own goal four years ago, a high standard has been set. Now these teams meet with qualification assured and top spot to play for.

Japan need a win to unseat the Lionesses while maximum points are essential for both Argentina and Scotland at the Parc des Princes. A victory would guarantee the South Americans' place in the last 16 while success would give the Scots a chance of finishing among the best third-place sides. Both know that anything less will send them tumbling out.

Japan-England: Group D, Nice, 21:00

Team reporter analysis

Ai Yoshiizumi (JPN)
After the frustration of the opening-match draw with Argentina, Japan produced some eye-catching football in their victory over Scotland. Results since have confirmed their place in the last 16. All the same, they are firmly focused on beating England - a team they know well - and leapfrogging the Lionesses to top Group D.

Laure James (ENG)
England suffered heartbreak against Japan in 2015 but the team have come a long way in the intervening years. They’re mentally prepared, physically primed and confident too: having already beaten the Nadeshiko in the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year. Phil Neville has said there will be opportunities for players who haven’t featured thus far. Regardless, expect a strong and highly experienced XI with England desperate to top Group D.

Kirsty Smith of Scotland shakes hands with Yui Hasegawa of Japan
© Getty Images

Scotland-Argentina: Group D, Paris, 21:00

Aileen Larkin (SCO)
Failing to win a point from their first two matches has left Scotland needing a win against Argentina to stand a chance of qualifying. They face a tough fight. Coach Shelley Kerr has lauded Argentina’s impressive defensive performances and knows her side will need to be on top form to breach the South Americans’ defensive wall. It is likely she will continue to play Erin Cuthbert alongside an out-and-out striker to maximise scoring opportunities. It remains to be seen whether that means another start for Jane Ross - the team’s joint-top scorer in qualifying - or a promotion for super sub Lana Clelland.

Diego Zandrino (ARG)
Argentina are in control of their own destiny: a position that would have been difficult to envisage coming into the tournament. Now, having earned such a historic opportunity, La Albiceleste will be positive in going for the win they need to advance to the Round of 16. With that objective necessitating a more attacking team, it is likely Carlos Borrello will revert to the 4-2-3-1 formation that served them well in qualifying. The spirit and heart of this team remains intact. They will fight until the end.

See also

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