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Duggan ready to return for Lionesses against Japan in group decider

England will be looking to beat Japan and top Group D in the Women's World Cup, while Scotland face a must win clash against Argentina

16 June, 2019 — By Catherine Etoe in France

Japan fans will be looking to cheer their team to victory over England, just like they did against Scotland

ENGLAND will be looking for the points they need to top Group D tomorrow (Wednesday) when they tackle Japan in the Women’s World Cup.

Forward Toni Duggan is back in contention after missing victories over Scotland and Argentina through injury, and the 27-year-old Barcelona player says that she’s “ready to help” the Lionesses roar into the knockout stages.

“It’s really frustrating on a personal level but on a team level I’m really proud that they got the first two wins against tough opponents,” she said.

“They had to grind out the wins but I’m proud that I can come back now, with us through to the last 16, and I can help them any way that I can.”

England secured their place in the knockout stages after beating Argentina 1-0 on Friday thanks to Jodie Taylor’s first goal in 14 months.

Scotland, meanwhile, have it all to do after losing their second match in the tournament by a 2-1 scoreline, this time to former champions Japan in Rennes.

Another soft penalty decision alongside a fine strike by 2011 Women’s World Cup winner Mana Iwabuchi put Scotland on the backfoot in the first half at Roazhon Park on Friday.

And while Shelley Kerr’s side attacked with greater belief in the second period, and pulled a goal back courtesy of a wonder strike in the 88th minute from substitute Lana Clelland, they could not find a way back against technically talented Japan.

Scotland could feel hard done by after a penalty shout for handball was waved away, while Chelsea star Erin Cuthbert hit the post.

But they have to put Friday’s match to bed quickly as Argentina are next up and only a win will do if the Scots are to have any chance of taking one of the four places on offer for the third best placed finishers.

The lowest ranked team in the group, Argentina, held Japan to a goalless draw in their opening game before losing 1-0 to England.

Now they face a Scotland team “fully focused” on getting all three points from their final group game. Arsenal captain and Scotland’s vice captain, Kim Little, said, “We are disappointed to not get anything from the game against Japan.

“We’ve conceded too early in the games and we can’t be doing that in the next one. The game against Argentina will be another tough game for us, we need to be up for it and we need to be on top of our game to get the points.”

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