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Big-match debrief: England v Japan

Little tinker or big thinker?

Phil Neville is getting a reputation as a tinkerman but, as long as England continue to win matches, it is hard to argue with his decisions. The former Manchester United player made eight changes against Japan, a side who had knocked the Lionesses out four years ago, but was rewarded with another victory as the likes of Georgia Stanway and Rachel Daly made the most of their chance to start. The squad looks strong, the question is whether Neville knows his best XI yet. However, everything he touches seems to working, so England fans must trust in Phil.

Ell of an asset

When it comes to dead-eye finishers at the World Cup so far the USA’s Alex Morgan, Australia’s Sam Kerr and Brazilian Marta spring to mind. Add Ellen White to that group. The new Manchester City signing has three goals in two games in France. Good goals, too, and at crucial times. White admitted she was fired up in Nice by Neville dropping her to the bench for the previous game with Argentina. Perhaps tinkering has its benefits.

Time to kick on

England have been clear they fear no one at the World Cup. While they would expect to get through the last 16, negotiating the quarter-finals will be tougher and the Lionesses must improve if they are to go deep into the tournament. Despite three wins out of three so far they have not been totally convincing, relying on well-taken goals at good times to get them past tricky opponents in Scotland, Argentina and Japan. Hopefully their best is yet to come.