China will face England in Adelaide on Tuesday, with both sides looking to finalise progression to the round-of-sixteen at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. England look set to make it though comfortably as the winners of Group D – but there is plenty of work to do for the Steel Roses, who will also be relying on the result of the concurrent Haiti v Denmark match swinging in their favour.
England’s Lionesses have failed to reach the heights we saw at the 2022 European Championships – as Sarina Wiegman’s side have seemingly struggled to record slender wins against both Haiti and Denmark. Still, England find themselves heading into this final round of matches with six points, keeping them pinned firmly at the top of Group D.
The story couldn’t be more different for China, who will need to hope results elsewhere work in their favour if they’re to maintain their 100% record of progressing from the group stages at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Steel Roses lost to Denmark on the opening day of Group D action, but were able to pick up three points against Haiti last time out – with Wang Shuang finding the back of the net from the penalty spot.
This clash comes just a year and a day after the Lionesses made history by lifting the 2022 European Championships trophy in front of a record crowd at Wembley, and the growth that women’s football has experienced within the United Kingdom since has been nothing short of incredible to witness. A win here isn’t necessary for progression – but three points would surely further boost interest back home ahead of the 2023/24 WSL season commencing in October.
England need just a point on Tuesday to go through as group winners. Should they manage to finish at the top of the table, they’d set up a round-of-sixteen encounter with Nigeria on August 7 – but if they drop to second place, they’ll have to fend off Australia.
Having picked up a red card against Haiti, China will be without Zhang Rui – with the 34-year-old serving her one-game suspension in this match. Zhang Xin is likely to replace her in the Steel Roses’ midfield for this crunch tie against England.
England’s tournament hopes were dealt a huge blow as Keira Walsh was stretchered off in the last match against Denmark, having seemingly sustained the dreaded ACL injury. Scans have since shown that the Barça midfielder’s injury isn’t as bad as first thought, but Sarina Wiegman is remaining tight-lipped when asked about the situation.
Despite Laura Coombs being chosen as Walsh’s replacement that day, this looks like a great opportunity for Sarina Wiegman to hand Manchester United’s Katie Zelem some minutes at the heart of the midfield.
China: Yu; Mengwen, Shanshan, Wei, Qiaozhu; Lingwei, Lina; Chengshu, Xi, Linyan; Jiahui
England: Earps; Bronze, Bright, Greenwood, Daly; Zelem, Stanway, Toone; Kelly, James, Russo
Where can I watch?
Kick-off at Adelaide’s Hindmarsh Stadium is scheduled for 12:00pm on Tuesday, 1st August 2023. The coverage will begin at 11:15am on ITV1 and ITVX. If you’re unable to watch the match, fear not – we’ll have a detailed match report published within minutes of the final whistle.