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England women
England progressed to their first World Cup semi-final with victory over hosts Canada in VancouverGetty

Following an excellent and gutsy victory over Canada, England will contest their first Women's World Cup semi-final on 1 July against holders Japan at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta.

How to watch

The game will be broadcast live on BBC One, with kick-off set for 12am BST. Fans can also watch via the BBC Sport website or listen on Radio Five Live.

Preview

England could have a team in a World Cup final for the first time in almost 50 years next weekend. Mark Sampson's side have proved an inspiration to girls everywhere who may be thinking of taking up football, while additionally providing a form of validation and encouragement for those already making their way in the game.

Having lost to an impressive France side in their Group F opener, the Lionesses recorded consecutive 2-1 victories over Mexico and Colombia before booking their place in the last eight of the tournament with a late turnaround against Norway.

It would have been all too easy for England to wilt under the pressure of playing against the hosts in front of a bumper 54,027-strong crowd, but instead they raced into an early two-goal lead courtesy of Jodie Taylor and Lucy Bronze's looping header before showing commendable resilience to remain composed and see out the win despite BC Place being momentarily reawakened by Christine Sinclair's second-half effort.

After negotiating that particular test, standing in their way now is a formidable Japan team that finished below them at the group stage back in 2011 but who then went on to beat Germany, Sweden and the United States – the latter via a tense penalty shootout – on their way to becoming the first Asian side to win a Fifa World Cup.

Mana Iwabuchi
Bayern Munich striker Mana Iwabuchi (left) celebrates her late winner during the quarter-final win over AustraliaGetty

Coached by Norio Sasaki, Japan are yet to lose a game during this year's competition and topped Group C after recording three straight wins over Switzerland, Cameroon and Ecuador.

A 2-1 quarter-final success over the Netherlands followed and their place in the penultimate round was only secured after Bayern Munich's Mana Iwabuchi profited from a messy goalmouth scramble to poke home an 86th minute winner against Australia.

Neither of these teams have been particularly frequent scorers so far, so it could be wise to expect a tight game that is likely to be decided by a one-goal margin.

"It is tough but our team is in a good place, there is no sign of our team running out of steam at the moment," Sampson told the media as reported by Reuters.

"We went right to the wire against Norway, right to the wire in our group games and then again against Canada, where we had to defend for our lives. We are in a good place physically and the physical side is going to be really important.

"We are going to need to be very confrontational, very positive in our play."

Captain Steph Houghton does not believe England, who are unbeaten in their last three meetings against Japan, should hold any fear ahead of the match.

She told Sky Sports: "I think we've got to respect them. I don't think we fear them. We've got to look at the strengths we've got in our squad and we've got a lot of winners in there.

"This match is going to be the biggest match of our careers and we know what an opportunity we've got as an England side to be able to get into a World Cup final. We've got to have that right balance of being able to respect how Japan play and the quality they have and make sure our tactics allow us to stifle them and not give them too many opportunities.

"For us, it's all about trying to get that win and trying to keep continuing to gain momentum throughout the course of the tournament."

Team news

England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley is expected to feature despite being replaced by Siobhan Chamberlain during the 52nd minute of the win over Canada with swelling around her eye that was likely due to an allergic reaction. Fara Williams should also start.