England v France – Quarter Final Collision
George III v Napoleon Bonaparte, crumpets v baguettes, beating the Germans v losing to the Germans, Blackpool Tower v Eiffel Tower. It’s England v France and the stakes haven’t been this high for a long time.
For the fourth game in a row, England head to the The Al Bayt stadium to face the current world champions France in the quarter final of the World Cup. It’s without doubt the hardest game for both sides in the tournament so far and it’s a 50/50 game. As England meet the old enemy, get yourself a table booked for Saturday evening with us, as there is no better sports pubs and bars in the UK!
Doesn’t get much tougher than this…
Two of the few remaining sides who are unbeaten in the World Cup meet Saturday night, and it can truly be said it’s a 50/50 game.
France are missing many key names; Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba, Lucas Hernandez, N’Golo Kante, Christopher Nkunku and Presnel Kimpembe the biggest names ruled out through injury. It can be safely assumed that every single one of these players would’ve been starters. If you were to see that injury list, you’d be entitled to think the team is weak. The world champs can still call upon Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, Raphael Varane and of course, the world’s best player, Kylian Mbappe.
At the time of writing, the winner of this clash will face one of Portugal, Spain, Morocco or Switzerland in the semi finals and both England and France should feel comfortable against any of those four sides. It really doesn’t get much harder than this for England.
Saying that, it doesn’t get much more difficult for France either. England have scored 12 goals in 4 games and only conceded 2 with goals coming from all over the pitch. It’s not going to be easy to stop England.
What can we actually expect with this?
Two teams full of goals with strong defences, it is a battle to see who blinks first. Southgate has surprised everyone with his back 4 and despite playing Jordan Henderson, the side have been quite forward thinking.
The question is though, will Southgate stick with that approach, or will he go into the French game cautious? Playing on the counter and giving the ball to teams like France isn’t the greatest idea, because even a sniff at goal they will most likely score. The French are 100% not going to change their style of play. It’s going to be the 4-2-3-1 that has ran the world ragged the past 5 years.
Truthfully, there is no clear expectation. It’s going to be a great game and hopefully England meet the French with the same intensity which France will bring. It’s going to be a game of fine margins.
Raheem Sterling has had to go home due to personal reasons & Ben White returned home not long ago too. Other than that, the full England squad is fit. Minutes have been spread between the core 16 odd players England use and that’ll be useful in the case for eventual extra time.
Kyle Walker has cemented his place in the side and considering he’s one of the few footballers who can match Kylian Mbappe physically, he is key to the England side.
The French team have lost Lucas Hernandez due to injury, but the squad is healthy right now. Ousmane Dembele who’s had bad woes the past 4 years is still going and is expected to start. Theo Hernandez is fit too, meaning Eduardo Camavinga does not need to deputise again.
Predicted England line up (4-3-3); Pickford; Walker, Maguire, Stones, Shaw; Rice, Henderson, Mount; Saka, Kane, Foden
.Predicted France line up (4-2-3-1); Lloris; Kounde, Varane, Upamecano, T.Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud
It’s tough. In fact it’s nearly impossible. The English forwards will fancy themselves v the French defence. The French forwards will fancy themselves against the English defence and the midfield is neatly balanced. But, we’re optimists here at We Love Sport.
England 2-1 France
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