Date: 1st July 2015 at 11:56am
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England Women are just one step away from reaching the World Cup final as they play the holders, Japan, in Edmonton in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The Lionesses have already gripped the nation’s hearts with their performances, and created history by becoming only the third England football team, after the 1966 and 1990 mens’ sides, to reach the last four of a World Cup finals by beating Canada on Sunday.

Now Mark Sampson’s side will be looking to go one step closer to victory, and although they face an uphill task against the current champions, they do come into the encounter full of confidence after winning their last four matches 2-1.

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 27:  Jodie Taylor of England is congratulted by team mate Jill Scott of England after giving her side the lead during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Quarter Final match between England and Canada at BC Place Stadium on June 27, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Despite going into the fixtures as the underdogs, England actually have a good record against their opponents from Asia, winning one and drawing two of their meetings, including a 2-0 victory in the group stages of the 2011 World Cup in Germany.

However, Japan have won all of their matches in Canada this time around, conceding only two goals.

Sampson has used 22 of his 23 players so far, so it is hard to predict exactly how he will line his side up, but goalkeeper Karen Bardsley should be back between the sticks after suffering an eye injury against the host nation, while Jordan Nobbs is still available despite rumours that her tournament was over because of a hamstring problem.

Steph Houghton, Fara Williams, Karen Carney, Jade Moore and Lucy Bronze should all start, while Jodie Taylor could keep her place upfront after scoring the opening goal last time out.

The winners of the clash in Edmonton will face the beaten finalists from four years ago, USA, in Vancouver on Monday, while the losers will face Germany in the third place play-off.

Shoot Says: England 0-1 Japan

 
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