Where will England vs France World Cup quarter-final be won and lost?

Saka’s duel with Hernandez will be crucial, Bellingham will be tested by formidable Tchouameni while Walker and Trippier may need to double up on Mbappe… FIVE key areas where England’s World Cup quarter-final with France will be won and lost

  • England take on France in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday night
  • Gareth Southgate’s side have impressed but France will represent a step up
  • Stopping in-form forward Kylian Mbappe will be England’s foremost concern
  • Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier could combine in defence to slow Mbappe down
  • Jude Bellingham has excelled but now comes up against Aurelien Tchouameni
  • England do have the edge with Harry Kane up front as opposed to Olivier Giroud 
  • Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results

England vs France on Saturday night will be the most-watched TV event of 2022 and make-or-break for Gareth Southgate’s World Cup dreams. 

The Three Lions have roared so far in Qatar but a meeting with the reigning world champions will undoubtedly be a step-up in difficulty. 

Sportsmail takes a look at five areas where the contest is likely to be won and lost. 

England’s Bukayo Saka celebrates with Phil Foden during their 3-0 last-16 win over Senegal

Kylian Mbappe has been in excellent form at the World Cup, celebrating here against Poland

MARKING MBAPPE

It looks like the main responsibility for stopping the best player in the world will fall to Kyle Walker whose pace has restricted Mbappe’s influence when PSG met Manchester City in the Champions League.

However, with Walker coming back from injury and Mbappe in peerless form in Qatar, it’s likely the right-back will need assistance.

That could either come from Jordan Henderson who often helps Trent Alexander-Arnold at Liverpool or Southgate could switch to a back-three where Walker will be the right-sided member of the central defence with Kieran Trippier outside him, meaning Mbappe will always have two men to beat. 

England right-winger Bukayo Saka is also good at the defensive side of the game.

England will need to figure out a way to subdue the threat of Mbappe on Saturday night 

Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker may be required to double up in order to halt Mbappe

BULLISH BELLINGHAM

Jude Bellingham will have to do two jobs to do against the French; helping Declan Rice to keep out the strongest opposition England have faced in this World Cup, but also getting forward himself to cause France problems.

Despite being only 19, Bellingham has shown immense athleticism and confidence in the tournament so far with team-mates predicting he will become the best midfielder in the world.

But the French will be a huge test. Not only does he need to be aware of Antoine Griezmann dropping deep to springboard attacks, he’ll find 22-year-old Aurelien Tchouameni a formidable adversary in the engine room. 

He has already filled the shoes of Casemiro at Real Madrid.


England’s Jude Bellingham (left) has been outstanding so far at the World Cup but will now face a stiff midfield test against France’s Aurelien Tchouameni 

SAKA v HERNANDEZ

Theo Hernandez is viewed as the best left-back in the world but sometimes seems to prefer the attacking part of the job than defending. His battle with Bukayo Saka promises to be immense.

Saka is very direct when getting forward but also has the defensive capability of stopping Hernandez’s forward thrusts to support Mbappe. 

The rising Arsenal star has played full-back and wing-back during his career.

When we look back on this game, this could be the key duel – whoever comes out on top will give their team a major advantage.

Bukayo Saka (right) celebrates scoring England’s third goal against Senegal on Sunday

Theo Hernandez is one of the best left-backs in the world and may be up against Saka

KANE’S SUPERIORITY

On paper, one area where England have a huge advantage is at centre-forward. 

While Oliver Giroud has just become France’s record goalscorer, he is 36 and wasn’t first-choice at Chelsea before he left the Premier League for AC Milan.

In contrast, Kane is at the peak of his career and also has Wayne Rooney’s international scoring record in his sights. 

Harry Kane opened his account for the World Cup by scoring England’s second on Sunday

Olivier Giroud may be 36 but he continues to score important goals for his national team

After drawing a blank in the group stages, the England captain broke his duck with an emphatic finish against Senegal and it could spark a goal run, as happened at Euro 2020.

Whereas Harry Maguire will enjoy the physical tussle with Giroud, Raphael Varane and the France rearguard will hate having to follow Kane when he drops deep. 

The Tottenham striker can beat them with a defence-splitting pass or in the air.

SOUTHGATE FACES THE MAESTRO

Gareth Southgate will follow Sir Alf Ramsey and Sven-Goran Eriksson as the only England managers to have taken their team into three major quarter-finals. 

The England boss has been on a steep learning curve since Russia 2018 and he’ll need every ounce of experience against Didier Deschamps.

The Frenchman is the longest-serving manager at the World Cup and one of only three men to have been a world champion as both player and manager. 


Gareth Southgate (left) will need to draw on every bit of nous and experience if England are to get the better of Didier Deschamps (right) and France

Four years ago, he achieved success by adopting a largely pragmatic approach with Kylian Mbappe throwing grenades at the attacking end.

With a number of stars injured including N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Karim Benzema, Deschamps has again found a way to win. 

Midfielder Adrien Rabiot has come in and played a key role that allows Mbappe to forget about defending and just concentrate on what he does best.

Southgate has shown with his team changes and substitutions throughout the tournament that he has a real sense of game management. Deschamps will be the ultimate test however.




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