What a tasty match this will be. England, who haven’t looked as good as they could be, have won both of their group games so far and have already qualified into the round of 16.
Japan were shocked in their first match where they were held 0-0 by Argentina but found their rhythm against Scotland coming out on top with a 2-1 victory. However, because the Japanese drew their first match, if Argentina beat Scotland and Japan loses on Wednesday they’ll both be on four points and goal difference will come into play to see who finishes second and third. Who ever finishes third will most likely be one of the four best third placed team, so would qualify, but would face the winner of one of the other groups.
So, to make a long story short; Japan only need a point from this match to qualify and to have a better play-off berth, and England only need a point to top the group. However, if the Japanese can trump up their World Cup pedigree which started to shine in their last match against Scotland, they could win, and get an easier knockout game.
England had to dig deep in their last match against Argentina. Some were a little surprised at the changes Phil Neville made to the team, some weren’t. Not to anyone’s surprise, the Lionesses’ rivals set up the same way as they did in their draw to Japan. Sit back, defend, try and counter.
However, there was a difference in this England side, yet again they were dominant in first half and a big chance came in the 28th minute when Alex Greenwood was fouled in the penalty area. Nikita Parris on the penalty spot, again, and was our pick for first goal scorer but she couldn’t convert as Vanina Correa dived to her left to keep it 0-0.
But Correa couldn’t keep up her valiant display. It was big-match player, 2017 Euros Golden Boot winner Jodie Taylor who broke the deadlock in the second half and to score the only goal in that game. Neville’s rotation had paid off again.
But because of that, we’ve no idea who could start or who he will rest. I, personally, think that he’ll give time to players who haven’t played that much like Karen Carney, Georgia Stanway, possibly if Demi Stokes and Toni Duggan are fit to play, them as well. England do have an abundance of talented players and changes shouldn’t affect them. It will affect our decision on who to choose as a goal scorer however.
As I said, I think Carney and Duggan will play and probably our best bets for goalscorer. Have a small flutter on Carney at 4/1 and a bigger bet on Duggan at 7/2, both anytime. I would back Taylor or Ellen White, but I really don’t know if any of the two will start.
I think this will still be a highly contested match, it’s a world cup game to decide something important after all. But, England haven’t looked themselves just yet, and neither have their opponents.
The Lionesses are EVS to win, Japan are 3/1 with the draw at 2/1 currently, and I cannot see any other result than a draw. The two teams are a lot more closely matched than the odds suggest, so that’s why I’m backing that result. If you wanted to play it safe, Japan/Draw in the double chance market is 8/11.
Best Bet: Japan and England to draw @ 2/1