Women's World Cup: Group D Fate Set to be Clearer as Japan Take on Scotland, England Play Argentina
Women's World Cup 2019: Here are previews to Friday's fixtures - Japan vs Scotland, Jamaica vs Italy and England vs Argentina.
Women's World Cup: Japan (L) and England are favourites to advance from Group D.
Women's World Cup 2019 has entered into the seventh day of competition as Japan, Scotland, England, Argentina, Jamaica and Italy prepare to take the field for their second matches of the tournament.
On Friday, Group D is set to take shape as table-toppers England play Argentina while 2015 Women's World Cup runners-up Japan will look to put behind the disappointment of their opener and storm back against Scotland.
England put up a nervy 2-1 win against Scotland in their World Cup opener while match favourites Japan were held to a goalless draw by a doggy Argentinian side.
Both England and Japan are the favourites to qualify from this group but Argentina and Scotland are very much capable of causing upsets and that makes the group edgy.
If England and Japan manage to win today's matches, the former will qualify for the Round of 16 while Japan will give themselves a huge respite before taking on England in their final group match - a match that can either decide the table toppers or whether Japan will make it through or not.
Apart from Group D action, Jamaica and Italy take on each other in the one Group C match on Friday and it is a crucial match for both teams.
Here is the preview for all the three matches:
Japan vs Scotland (6.30PM IST)
Scotland showed quite a bit of spark against England in their opener and gave them a run for their money in the second half. They will look to continue posing that threat against Japan, who face a must-win situation here. Both these teams are like to build their attack from the back and take it ahead patiently. The fact that Japan also like to press high may force Scotland to make a few mistakes.
We can expect the flanks to be a busy place in this match-up as both teams like to attack from the wide spaces. However, Scotland can be a handfull for Japan in that space as their wingers possess quite a bit of pace and dribbling skills. Japanese defenders also have a tendency of getting dragged out by wide players and break the defensive chain - something that Scotland would look to exploit.
For Japan though, if they can press high and build pressure on the Scottish back line and create opportunities, they have a huge chance against this team. This Scotland side like to break up attack from the centre but with the skill level of Japan, they can work the ball around well.
Scotland are currently at the bottom of the group while Japan are third. Both teams need to win this one to stay alive in the tournament.
Jamaica vs Italy (9.30PM IST)
Italy sprung a surprise win against Australia in their first match of the World Cup while Jamaica were defeated by Brazil on expected lines. However, a clash between Italy and Jamaica can produce a very juicy contest.
Both Italy and Jamaica are not teams that rely on possession-based football. Both the teams like playing long balls and launch direct attacks. With Italy, it is mostly through full-backs that they look to pitch the ball up.
Italy usually struggle to break through in the opposition half and this is where Jamaica can cause them unrest. Jamaican midfield is dynamic and if they can put enough pressure on the Italian defence, they have a very good chance of breaking through.
However, Italy showed in their first match that they can be doggy and persistent and come up with goods right at the end. Concentration for both defences is going to be crucial in this one.
England vs Argentina (12.30AM IST)
England well know that they have to improve their showing in order to justify the tag of one of the favourites of the tournament. England were troubled quite a bit by Scotland in their opener and they will have to be careful against an inspired Argentinian side.
Argentina like to press high and keep a high defensive line, which means England are likely to find quite a bit of space to work their play out and score goals.
Argentina can also be guilty of losing the ball carelessly in dangerous position that can cost them dear against a side like England. The English team also sometimes like to play a one-side heavy game to attract defenders to a flank and then play one-two combinations and switch the flank quickly to catch out the opposition - something that Argentina will have to keep in mind.
Argentina, on the other hand, like to play long balls instead of short passes. It will be a good strategy against England, who would want to keep the ball and that gives Argentina chances on the counter-attack.
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