Both Japan and Spain have already qualified for the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup, but a win on Monday morning could be crucial in terms of their prospects for the rest of the tournament.
With qualification already sealed, it will be interesting to see if either manager makes changes to keep some of their top stars fresh.
Spain currently top Group C by a one-goal better goal difference from Japan, so the Europeans know a draw will be enough to finish in top spot.
There is understood to have been no ill-effects for Alexia Putellas, who made her first competitive start for three months after a serious knee injury against Zambia.
Jennifer Hermoso, her country’s leading scorer, is expected to start as one of a three-pronged attack in Wellington.
Japan are being tipped to recall Fuka Nagano, after the Liverpool midfielder sat out Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica.
Spain to win – 4/5
Jorge Vilda’s team have won their last eight games in a row and another victory will see them finish top of their group and set up a last-16 encounter against Norway.
Whoever finishes second in Group C will come up against a Switzerland side that are unbeaten in the tournament, with one win and two draws in Group A.
It’s not just an impressive winning run to take note of with Spain, but it’s also their defensive record that catches the eye – with clean sheets in their last six matches.
So far in this tournament, Spain have scored eight goals and are yet to concede while Japan have scored seven and have also kept clean sheets in their opening two group games.
La Roja, currently ranked sixth in the world, have also won their last two meetings with Japan – a 1-0 success in a friendly last year and a 3-1 win in the She Believes Cup in 2020.
Mina Tanaka – Anytime Goalscorer – 10/3
If Spain’s defensive run is going to come to an end on Monday, then Japan forward Mina Tanaka could be the person to do it.
The 29-year-old has 25 goals in 66 internationals and has already got a goal to her name in this tournament, bagging the second in the 5-0 win over Zambia.
Tanaka came into the tournament after a successful season at club level, with the former Bayer Leverkusen loanee scoring 14 goals in 25 appearances in the Japanese Empowerment Professional League.
The INAC Kobe Leonessa striker is set to be part of a three-pronged attack, alongside Hikaru Naomoto and Aoba Fujino.