Japan and England meet in their final Group D clash in the Women’s World Cup this Wednesday. The match kicks off at 9:00pm local time in France, in Nice. Both sides are guaranteed to qualify to the next stage, but will want to fight for 1st place with a win here.

Japan

Japan have huge World Cup pedigree in the Women’s game, having won the World Cup in 2011, before losing the final four years ago to the USA. They are not within the top five favourites to win this year, and that could be evident in their opening match against Argentina when they were held 0-0 in a tepid display. Japan did rediscover their form in the 2nd game though, as they beat bottom side Scotland 2-1. Goals from Mana Iwabuchi and Yuika Sugasawa made sure that Japan would progress to the next stage, and have it in their hands to come first – as long as they beat England on Wednesday.

England

England have started their World Cup campaign with two consecutive wins, already cruising to the last 16. If they avoid defeat to Japan, they’ll guarantee top spot, and potentially an easier route to the final. Along with hosts France, and holders USA, England can consider themselves one of the favourites to lift the trophy as they boast a squad full of top-class players. They reached the semi-finals four years ago, and ended up finishing in 3rd place.

In their opener to this World Cup, they defeated Scotland 2-1, but their 2nd half performance was criticised by manager Phil Neville. England did improve against Argentina in the 2nd game, winning 1-0 in a hard-fought victory. Three goals, and three different scores so far for England will bode well going ahead. Now, can England make it three wins from three?

Head to Head

The two teams have met four times in their history, and three of them have come on the grandest stage. They first met at the 2007 World Cup where they drew 2-2 in the group stage – a result which saw England progress from the group, with Japan being eliminated. Four years later, they met in the 2011 World Cup, where England had won 2-0 in their group stage match. It would be Japan who would have the last laugh though, as they went on to win the tournament that year.

In a 3rd consecutive World Cup, they met again in 2015, but this time at the semi-final stage. In a close encounter, it was decided by a last-minute own goal by England, as they were eliminated in the cruellest fashion in a 2-1 score line. Their most recent meeting was earlier this year in March, which England won comfortably 3-0 in a friendly. Who will win on their 4th consecutive meeting in a World Cup? So far, it’s one win and one draw apiece.

Predictions and Betting Tips

Japan are at 29/10 to win, with England favourites at 21/20. For the sides to share the spoils, that is priced at 11/5. England will want to get revenge on Japan for their World Cup elimination four years ago, and by doing so, will confirm top spot in the group. I’ll back England, but it will be a close match, so a score of 1-0 to England will be my choice – priced at 5/1. To boost the odds even further, you can add Nikita Parris to score first in a Scorecast, which takes it to 20/1.

Neither side has been involved in a game more than 3 goals yet, but for the tipsters, you’ll be rewarded if you decide to back it this time. As both sides have less pressure, we could see more clear chances, and therefore more goals. More than 3.5 goals is at a generous 10/3.

Finally, I can see the game being close in the first half, with England getting ahead in the second half, just as they did against Argentina, and a HT/FT bet of Draw / England Women, is at 7/2.

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