The Women’s World Cup got off to a flying start last week and the group stages have now entered their second matches, with Japan facing Scotland on Friday.
Scotland kicked off Group D with a 2-1 defeat to Phil Neville’s England, while Nadeshiko Japan followed up on Monday with a goalless stalemate against Argentina.
And so, it’s on to matchday two, with this match in Rennes presenting a very interesting contest for both sides. For Japan, they have won each of their last five World Cup matches against European nations, having initially failed to win any of their first nine games (D1 L8).
As for Scotland, they haven’t lost back-to-back matches since a run of four straight defeats between November 2018 and March 2019, setting this battle up to be a fiercely competitive one.
With that, read on for Japan vs Scotland live stream options, team news, stats and TV channel info.
When is Japan vs Scotland?
Competition: FIFA Women’s World Cup
Venue: Stade de la Route de Lorient
Date: Friday, 14 June
Kick-off: 2:00 PM BST
Where can I watch live?
UK residents will be able to watch Japan vs Scotland on BBC One, channel 101 on Sky and Virgin Media. Channel 115 for HD on Sky, and channel 108 for HD on Virgin Media. UK users can also stream the match via BBC iPlayer.
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Shelley Kerr’s side will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to England on Sunday, with the Lionesses clinching three points to put them top of Group D thanks to goals from Nikita Parris and Ellen White.
Scotland were able to find the back of the net in the concluding stages at the Allianz Riviera, with Claire Emslie tucking home in the 79th minute, but the goal proved just a consolation, and so, they will need maximum reward against Japan to keep their hopes of progressing through the group stage alive.
Kerr believes the 2011 World Cup winners are currently experiencing a “transitional” period and will therefore look to put pressure on Asako Takakura’s side from the off in an effort to unsettle their more inexperienced players.
She said: “They’ve been in a transitional period. Senior players have retired and some young ones have come in. We need to put them under pressure. We need to be more physical. We need to stop them playing – that’s the big thing for us.”
However, that will be easier said than done, as Japan, captained by the ever-reliable Saki Kumagai, are difficult to break down, as demonstrated in their 0-0 draw with Argentina.
They were noticeably off-pace in Paris, registering just five shots against Albicelestes, and given that they have now drawn their previous three matches, Scotland will feel three points is certainly attainable against Takakura’s side.
It is a managerial dream, as neither Kerr or Takakura head into this match with an injury concern, though the latter will likely tinker with her personnel after failing to win a match in the nation’s previous five encounters, not to mention the lacklustre drawn against Argentina.
Can Scotland defy statistical odds?
Taking form out of the equation here, Japan look every capable of clinching three points if history has any say in the matter. As mentioned, the Asian nation have claimed a victory in each of their last five meetings during World Cup clashes against European opposition.
Prior to this streak, Nadeshiko Japan had incredibly suffered eight defeats and just the single draw; their turn of fortune has, therefore, been remarkable.
But statistics can often blur the picture of reality, and Scotland will be buoyed by their performance against England, looking deadly after an initial slow start against one of the tournament favourites.
Should Kerr follow up on her strategy to exert pressure from the off, Takakura’s side could encounter some problems, especially if Edinburgh-born forward Emslie gets her name on the scoresheet again, though having never scored in consecutive Scotland appearances, she will either have to buck that trend, or Kerr will need to find a source of goals elsewhere.
Can Japan record consecutive clean sheets?
Japan have never kept back-to-back clean sheets at the Women’s World Cup, and while they will certainly be looking to try and keep Scotland at bay, hence reaching that milestone on Friday, they may look to address issues in the final third before anything else.
Having only registered five shots against Argentina, Takakura may very well be tempted to alter her tactics in an effort to offer more of an attacking threat going forward.
The winners of this tournament eight years ago offered very little in front of goal, which will desperately need to be addressed if the nation have any aspirations of making it through the group stage – and potentially further.
But the odds, again, are stacked in Takakura’s favour: Japan have won their second group stage game in each of their last three participations at the World Cup (2015, 2011, 2007).