In a side that boasted seven current, and two former, City players, Phil Nevilles side made history by becoming the first English womens team in World Cup history to win all three group games. In fact, youd have to go back as far as 1982 to find the last senior England team to take maximum points from a World Cup group stage.
Whites movement off the ball proved all too much to handle for the Japanese back-line ashre brace moved her onto three goals in the campaign to secure all three points at the Allianz Riviera.
Kumi Yokoyama was eager to test England early on, first with a long-range sighter after a quick break that flew harmlessly over. The Japan forward then exhibited her shot power minutes later, striking a vicious free-kick from 35-yards. As the ball rocketed towards the top-left corner of the goal, Bardsley staked her name for Englands No1 shirt with a phenomenal double-handed save onto the bar.
White broke the deadlock just 14 minutes in with a cultured strikers finish. Stanway toed through an inch-perfect ball through to the new City striker who set herself well and lifted the ball gently over the keeper and into the vacated net.
Stanway was involved moments later as the ball was played to her on the edge of the box from a corner; the young starlet was impressing on her full World Cup debut after venomously striking the ball that almost caught out Ayaka Yamashita as it chaotically moved through a sea of Japan players. The Japanese shot-stopper was quick on her feet, however, and managed to palm the shot into the air.
Yokoyama was proving to be quite the handful after she gave Bardsley some cause for concern once again after half an hour of play. Keira Walsh gave away a free-kick in the England half which Japan opted to play short, allowing the No 20 to take a snap-shot at goal. The shot was placed well but lacked power and the England keeper held onto the ball comfortably.
The Lionesses were back in action straight away as Walsh sent a superb through ball over the top for Rachel Daly to chase. The Houston Dash striker did exactly that and took the ball down with ease and edged past her defender before seeing her shot well saved by Yamashita.
England started the second half as they ended the first. Electric down the right wing, Daly created space for herself and sent in a whipped cross along the ground towards White. Nana Ichise did everything in her power to prevent the cross from being turned into an assist, sliding and stretching her entire body to block it away.
Toni Duggan looked sure to extend the lead and grab a goal on her return from injury after another spectacular delivery from Bronze. The full-back looped in a ball to the far post where the Barcelona attacker had cleverly moved into space. Duggan met the cross on the volley, but Yamashita was yet again on hand to flick the effort away with rapid reflexes.
After some great play at the other end, Japan substitute Yuika Sugasawa looked to have broken clear on goal only to be smothered by captain Steph Houghton. The City centre-back reacted quickly to the danger and dispossessed the forward with a perfectly-timed sliding challenge.
White secured her brace as the game came to a close. Substitute Karen Carney placed another well-weighted ball onto the feet of the Lionesses striker, who had timed her run to perfection. Englands in-form player took time to look up, pick her spot and curl the ball around the outstretched Yamashita.
England are yet to find out their opponents in the round-of-16 but will face a third placed team from Group B, E or F in Valenciennes on Sunday, June 23.
England : Bardsley; Bronze, Houghton, Bright, Stokes; Scott, Walsh (Moore 71); Daly, Stanway (Carney 73), Duggan (Parris 83); White.