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England V Japan: Women’s International Football Friendly – Live

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Pre-match reading

Team newsEsme Morgan and Niamh Charles start in defence for England, who are without Leah Williamson, Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood. Beth Mead wins her 50th cap.

Japan Yamashita, Kumagai, Shimizu, Minami, Miyake, Endo, Sugita, Nagani, Miyazawa, Hasegawa, Iwabuchi.

Substitutes: Naomoto, Tanaka, Norimatiu, Seike, Hayashi, Ueki, Kitamura, Takarada, Tanaka, Ohba, Fujino.

Referee Zuzana Valentova (Slovakia).

PreambleHello and welcome to live coverage of the international friendly between England and Japan in Murcia. This and the game against Norway on Tuesday are the last of a year that will may never be bettered. Their record in 2022 is beyond spectacular: 18 games, 15 wins, no defeats, 67 goals and one 60cm trophy.

England’s glorious win at the European Championship is a thing of the past for Sarina Wiegman, who wants to add a World Cup to her already formidable CV. England have not taken the easy option in their preparations – they beat the world champions USA last month before drawing with the Czech Republic, and now they face one of Asia’s finest. Japan are 11th in the world rankings to England’s fourth. With a number of key players missing, it’s another chance for Wiegman to assess England’s depth.

These two have played each other in the last four World Cups, although the draw for next year’s tournament means they can only meet again in the final. England won in the group stages in 2011 and 2019, there was a manic draw in 2007 – and an unforgettable semi-final in 2015, when Laura Bassett’s injury-time own goal put Japan into the final.

The stakes are a lot lower this evening, but there are many worse ways to spend a Friday night.

Kick off 7pm GMT, 8pm CET, 4am JST

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