Phil Neville’s side have already secured narrow victories over both Argentina and Scotland, propelling them to the summit of the standings and to the brink of a simpler draw on paper for the last 16.
Japan, the 2011 winners and 2015 runners-up, have proven the quality of a new generation. After drawing with Argentina and deservedly overcoming Scotland, they have already qualified for the knockout stages, regardless of the outcome of their final group game.
|Game||Japan women vs England women|
|Date||Wednesday, June 19|
|Time||8:00pm BST / 3:00pm ET|
|Stream (US)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|Fox Sports 1||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be broadcast on BBC One. It can be streamed from BBC iPlayer or the BBC Sport app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BBC One||BBC iPlayer / BBC Sport app|
Squads & Team News
|Position||Japan women squad|
|Goalkeepers||Ikeda, Yamashita, Hirao|
|Defenders||Sameshima, Utsugi, Kumagai, Miyake, Shimizu, Ichise, Miyagawa, Minami|
|Midfielders||Sakaguchi, Nakajima, Momiki, Hasegawa, Sugita, Miura|
|Forwards||Sugasawa, Iwabuchi, Yokoyama, Kobayashi, Takarada, Endo|
Japan came through their clash with Scotland without suffering any injury concerns.
Possible Japan starting XI: Yaamshita; Shimizu, Kumagai, Ichise, Sameshima; Nakajima, Miura, Sugita, Endo; Sugasawa, Iwabuchi
|Position||England women squad|
|Goalkeepers||Bardsley, Telford, Earps|
|Defenders||McManus, Greenwood, Stokes, Williamson, Bronze, Bright, Daly, Houghton|
|Midfielders||Stanway, Moore, Scott, Walsh, Staniforth, Carney|
|Forwards||Mead, White, Kirby, Taylor, Parris, Duggan|
England are boosted by the return of Barcelona attacker Toni Duggan, who missed the opening two matches of the competition due to a thigh strain.
Although Phil Neville has said that he wants to reward those who have played well thus far with more game time, pragmatism may take charge and rotation to preserve the energy reserves of his star players is possible.
Possible England starting XI: Bardsley; Bronze, Houghton, McManus, Greenwood; Moore; Parris, Scott, Kirby, Duggan; Taylor
Betting & Match Odds
England are priced as 23/20 favourites with Bet365. Japan can be backed at 13/5, while a draw is available at 21/10.
Wednesday’s Women’s World Cup clash at the Stade de Nice offers England a chance to show how far they have come over the last four years.
In Canada 2015, they were defeated, heartbreakingly, 2-1 by Japan at the semi-final stage, with a stoppage-time own goal from Laura Bassett denying them the opportunity to meet the USA in the final.
There is a belief that the game has developed, grown and improved since then, with successive wins over Scotland and Argentina already ensuring that Phil Neville’s side will return to the knockout stages of the 2019 edition.
“Potentially this tie is a little more intense; in 2015 maybe we overachieved a little bit,” right-back Lucy Bronze explained on the eve of this clash. “We played very well in that semi-final and I think we probably could have won it, but now we have more belief. We want to win against any team that is in front of us to get to the final. We know we can.”
Should England win the group, however, it would place them in the same half of the draw as the USA and France – two of the hot favourites to go all the way in the competition. Would second, therefore, be more favourable? Neville has refused to be drawn on the subject.
“There is a long way to go; we have not looked beyond tomorrow night to be honest,” he said on Tuesday. “There are pitfalls to finishing first or second, but we are going out tomorrow night to win with the strongest team possible and the performance we’ve see in the last two games.
“My view is that we want to win seven games in this World Cup.
“I've got to be honest with you, I would bite your legs off to win tomorrow night.”
Japan, meanwhile, are not considered to be the force they once were. The team is in a stage of transition, with the average age of the squad just 24, while 17 of their 23-strong panel were without a World Cup appearance before the competition.
That has not stopped them booking a last-16 place with a match to spare and has fired the confidence of midfielder Emi Nakajima, who is targeting another win against the Lionesses.
“I want to finish this phase with good results and good performances,” she said. “The quality of Japanese football comes in combination play. Our aim is to possess the ball and methodically advance towards the goal.”
England have faced Japan three times in World Cup play previously: winning one, drawing one and losing one.