England made sure of top spot in Group D after seeing off Japan 2-0 in their final group match, with Ellen White's goals either side of half time proving the difference between the two sides.
Despite dominating possession early on, England had Karen Bardsley to thank for keeping the scores level ten minutes in.
The first chance of the second period fell England's way, with the impressive Rachel Daly finding Lucy Bronze down the right, with the cross met by Toni Duggan whose volley was scrambled clear by Yamashita.
England survived a scare with 15 minutes remaining as
Key Talking Point
With progression to the knockout stages already assured, Wednesday night provided the platform for a number of England's fringe players to give Phil Neville a selection headache ahead of the round of 16.
Of those given their chance to shine it was Stanway who had the most impact, acting as the link between attack and defence in an impressive opening for the Lionesses.
On the wing, Toni Duggan struggled to have any serious impact, although she wasn't helped by Demi Stokes' unwillingness to overlap. Across the pitch, Rachel Daly performed well in the front three, showcasing the one and two touch play that makes England very easy on the eye.
12 – When scoring the opening goal of a Women’s World Cup match, England have never lost, winning 10 and drawing two of the 12 previous instances the Lionesses have done so. Masterplan. #FIFAWWC #ENG #JPNENG— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 19, 2019
The Lionesses were at their best when getting close to each other, linking up well in the final third with their slick passing play on show for all those inside the
Starting XI: Bardsley (7); Stokes (5), Bright (5), Houghton (6), Bronze (7); Walsh (5), Stanway (8*), Scott (7); Duggan (6), White (8), Daly (8).
Substitutes: Moore (6), Carney (6), Parris (N/A).
Star Player - Neville handed Georgia Stanway her first ever World Cup start on Wednesday, and the City star performed superbly in the number ten role.
With the security of Kiera Walsh and Jill Scot behind her, the 20-year-old revelled in the freedom between the Japan lines, repeatedly threatening in the final third and looking every bit the player who netted 15 goals for her club last season.
A special mention must be made to Rachel Daly too, who shone down the right hand side and equally warrants a spot in their next match after an impressive display in her first start of the tournament.
Starting XI: Yamashita (8*), Shimizu (6), Kumagai (6), Ichise (6), Sameshima (7); Kobayashi (5), Nakajima (7), Sugita (6), Endo (7); Yokoyama (6), Iwabuchi (8).
Substitutes: Miura (6), Sugasawa (7), Takarada (N/A).
Star Player - The scoreline could very well have been embarrassing for Japan had it not been for the trusty gloves of Ayaka Yamashita.
The Lionesses' victory means they will now face one of the best third-place finishers in the last 16. While momentum is key, it arguably poses the more difficult route to the final for Neville's side as they are now