Tuesday, January 26, 2021

“I’ll field strongest 11” – Neville

Despite having already qualified for the knockout rounds, Phil Neville says he’ll field his “strongest possible team” when England face Japan in their final group game tonight.

England have two wins from two so far in the group as they beat Scotland 2-1 before edging Argentina 1-0. Neville says that he wants to win the group, despite the fact it’ll put them in the same side of the draw as holders USA and hosts France.

“My view is that we want to win seven games in this World Cup,” said Neville. “That is the case no matter the route we take.”

Despite having already booked their passage through to the next round, Neville says he will play his strongest team to ensure they get the win needed. That means those on the fringes of the squad, the likes of Leah Williamson, Rachel Daly etc will be unlikely to start the game.

Neville won’t rest stars

England coach Phil Neville

“There were five or six permutations, now that’s been whittled down, and there are pitfalls in finishing first and second,” added the England boss. “We’ve got a long way to go. It starts tomorrow night – we are going out to win it with the strongest possible team.”

Neville has a full squad at his disposal, with Toni Duggan and Demi Stokes having recovered from their injuries. England have recently played against Japan – the two sides came up against each other in the SheBelieves Cup in the USA earlier this year. England won that one 3-0 with goals coming from Lucy Staniforth, Karen Carney and Beth Mead – all of whom are in the squad.

Can they repeat that feat tonight? Find out on BBC One at 8pm.

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