Saturday sees Zambia and Japan kick-start their Women’s World Cup campaigns as they prepare to meet in Hamilton on New Zealand’s North Island.
Japan are the firm favourites to come out on top in this Group C encounter at 2/9, with Zambia at 15/2 and the draw at Waikato Stadium available at 5/1.
Starting with underdogs Zambia, boss Bruce Mwape looks set to name keeper Hazel Nali between the sticks for this opening clash.
Madrid CFF team-mates Rachael Kundananji and Grace Chanda are pushing for starting roles, while Barbra Banda will skipper the side.
As for Japan, Saku Kumagai will be wearing the armband on Saturday and looks set to form a defensive back three alongside Moeka Minami and Shiori Miyake.
Hikaru Naomoto and Fuka Nagano are set to be joined by Manchester City’s in-form star Yui Hasegawa in the middle of the park, while Mina Tanaka will likely lead from the front.
Over 3.5 total goals @ 4/5
With Japan looking strong in attack and Zambia having work to do to improve their defence, Saturday’s encounter should be a high-scoring contest in Hamilton.
Japan showed what they are capable of impressing in attack in their last game, as they ran out comfortable 5-0 winners against Panama.
Zambia have been struggling to stop goals flying in at their end, having conceded eight in their last three outings against the likes of the Republic of Ireland, Switzerland and Germany.
With that in mind, over 3.5 total goals looks to be the way to go in this one and is available at 4/5.
Yui Hasegawa to score anytime @ 7/4
A player in real form for her country at present, City star Hasegawa is certainly one to look out for in the anytime goalscorer market.
The 26-year-old bagged herself a brace in that 5-0 win over Panama to add to her goal tally for her country.
Hasegawa has now scored four goals in Japan’s last four games and looks more than capable of finding the back of the net in what should be a straight-forward victory for Japan before their sterner tests to come against Germany and Spain.
Hasegawa is available at 7/1 to score the opening goal of the game, but we have gone with the more conservative 7/4 for the Citizens player to find the back of the net anytime against Zambia.