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World Cup Daily: Lionesses set sights on knockouts

TARGET: England can secure progression with a win over Argentina

TARGET: England can secure progression with a win over Argentina

It’s a potentially pivotal day in the Women’s World Cup with Matchday Two in Group D.

England’s Lionesses can book a place in the knock-out stages with a win over Argentina (8pm BST), while Scotland can keep their hopes of progression alive with a result against 2011 Champions Japan (2pm BST).

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Phil Neville’s side will be strong favourites to triumph over the South American outfit, who are placed 37th in the world rankings, but will draw caution from the fact the Albicelestes held 2015 runners-up Japan to a goalless draw on the opening day, picking up their very first World Cup point in the process.

City have seven English representatives in France with Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton, Demi Stokes, Jill Scott, Georgia Stanway, Keira Walsh and Ellen White all pushing to feature. Stokes was the only absentee from the 2-1 victory over Scotland to due a knee problem but has resumed full training during the week.

Scott, competing in her fourth World Cup tournament, made her 15th appearance in Nice – the most of any other England player. Should she find the net against Argentina, she would become only the second Lioness to score in three different editions of the tournament after Fara Williams.

Scotland currently sit bottom of the group, following the opening day defeat to England, but will take encouragement from Argentina’s display against this afternoon’s opponents Japan, as well as their own against the Lionesses.

Caroline Weir, who impressed in Nice, admitted Shelley Kerr’s side are aware of the importance of collecting a result against the 2015 runners-up.

"We need to take something from that game," she stated.

"Argentina played well the other night but Japan isn't going to be an easy game - they are seventh in the world so they are a top team with a lot of experience in World Cups.

"We know it's going to be tough but we go into the game with confidence. We're more physical than them and hopefully that will cause them a problem.

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"Japan are a technical team, they won't be as physical as England and maybe not as aggressive in their presses, but they come with other qualities.

"They're very tactically switched on, technical, difficult to play against, they're running off you in different areas of the pitch so something to be mindful of.

"They've got some top players who play at big clubs who are experienced in these big games. That's a challenge."

Sandwiched in the middle of the two crucial Group D clashes, Jamaica face Italy in the 5pm BST kick-off. Italy currently sit second in Group C, level on points with leaders Brazil and third-placed Australia, who locked horns yesterday in a pulsating, five-goal thriller.

Brazil had gained a 2-0 first half lead in Montpellier, courtesy of goals from Marta and Cristane. However, a Caitlin Foord strike on the stroke of half-time gave the Matildas hope and they rallied to produce a stunning second half fightback, turning the game on its head to triumph 3-2.

The shock result inflicted a first group-stage defeat on the South Americans in 24 years, leaving the group intriguingly open.

Meanwhile, China clinched their first win of the 2019 tournament, edging past South Africa, thanks to Li Ying’s effort five minutes before the break. They now sit third in Group B, level on points with Spain, and three behind Germany, who boast a 100% record so far.

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Beckie: City improved me ahead of World Cup

TEKKERS: Janine Beckie lets fly in Canada's opening game against Cameroon.

Janine Beckie believes her first season at Manchester City was the perfect preparation for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

The winger provided an assist in the opening game of the tournament as Canada won 1-0.