Women’s Football World Cup – China vs England Preview & Betting Tips: Goals At Last?

Lauren JamesEngland are odds-on to make it through Group D with a perfect record when they take on China in the women’s football World Cup at Coopers Stadium in Adelaide, Australia (12pm Tuesday; TV: Live on ITV). Can they make it three from three? Or will the Chinese have something to say as they too fight for a place in the next round? This preview, with its betting tips, aims to find out.

How does it stand in Group D?

After two games, the Lionesses find themselves sitting pretty at the top of Group D. They have won two out of two and are now almost certain to make it through, though the job isn’t quite done. Were they to lose here by a significant enough margin, then they could face a surprising exit if the Danes also beat Haiti by enough goals. Failing to make it through from this point seems highly unlikely, though, as Sarina Wiegman’s women are in the driving seat, requiring just one point to ensure that they not only go through but go through as group winners.

In contrast, the Chinese are tasked with an altogether tougher assignment here. They know that only a win is likely to be enough. After beating the Haitians on match-day two, despite the first-half sending-off of midfielder Rui Zhang, China’s women have three points.

Technically, a draw here would be enough, but it seems likely that the Danes will win their game against Haiti, meaning that four points would not be enough to qualify for the next round. Therefore, this is a must-win game for Shui Qingxia’s side.

Chinese lacking in the final third

In each of their games in this women’s World Cup, this Chinese team has not been easy to beat. They work hard out of possession, are disciplined defensively without the ball, while they can knock it about. However, what they haven’t really got is a creative spark, nor do they offer much offensive power in general. Against the Danes, they huffed and puffed, made life difficult for their opponents and did try to get forward at times, but they seldom threatened.

From an attacking point of view, even with a player less, they did offer a bit more against Haiti, but that was to be expected as they faced a lesser opponent, and even then, they still required a penalty kick to break the deadlock. Two games in and Shui Qingxia’s women are without a goal from open play, which doesn’t bode well ahead of what is unquestionably their toughest task yet.

Lionesses need to roar louder

England come into this game in decent shape. They have won two out of two, while they are yet to concede a goal at this tournament. However, since landing down under, they have not been firing on all cylinders offensively. That wasn’t much of a problem against Haiti or Denmark, and they probably won’t need to be at their offensive best to thrive in this game either. However, if they have visions of going all the way, then they need to up their productivity in that final third.

Against Haiti during the first round of group games, the Lionesses didn’t really create much. They scored from the spot, thanks to Georgia Stanway converting her retaken penalty (after missing at the first time of asking), but didn’t really create much else in the way of clear-cut chances. Against the Danes, it was a similar story. Brought into the starting XI, Lauren James scored something of a wonder goal after just six minutes, turning cleverly before sweeping one into the far corner from 20 yards out. After that, though, they went without really creating anything serious, which is a bit of a problem.

Luckily, the Lionesses do have that small cluster of attacking players, such as James, Chloe Kelly and Stanway, who can create something out of nothing. Such players can make something happen in tight games, which is a big thing for England, but they will need to improve collectively from an attacking point of view and start creating more.

Goals on the cards at Coopers Stadium

Both teams have floundered somewhat in the final third, scoring only three goals between them in over 360 minutes of football down under. However, circumstances could lead to the flow of goals in this fixture.

For starters, the Chinese need to win, and they’ll know that they have little chance of winning this game if they simply sit back and soak up pressure. At some point, they must go for it and look for offensive openings. Sure, their attacking play hasn’t really been there but they will be buoyed by that win last time out. The Lionesses, for all they have kept back-to-back clean sheets, did have a few scary moments at the back against Denmark, so we ought not to be too surprised if they concede here.

If the Chinese do come forward, then we could see a much improved attacking display from England’s women, who are 2/5 with the best UK bookies to win this game. The Lionesses have pace and power in that final third, so don’t be surprised if they really hurt what is essentially a much lesser opponent here.

After all, the Chinese do have a record of being involved in high-scoring games against the top nations. Since the start of 2021, they have lost 3-0 to Spain, lost 4-1 to Sweden, lost 8-2 to the Netherlands, and lost 5-0 to Brazil, so don’t be surprised if the goals turn up at Coopers Stadium on Tuesday. So for this preview’s betting tips, stick to the one: