England face France in the Quarter-final of the 2022 Qatar World Cup with the Three Lions’ intent clearly stated, ‘we won’t roll out a red carpet…’
The 2022 Qatar World Cup has reached its quarter-final stage and England face defending champions France on Saturday at the Al Bayt Stadium. Two teams with top players and similar run of form through the group stages sets up a World Cup Blockbuster.
This is expected to be a fiery encounter but yet still, both teams could take a cautious approach. Both France and England have quality game deciders and here are the 5 battles that could determine the game;
Kyle Walker vs Kylian Mbappe
ESPN reports that England right-back Kyle Walker has come out stong to note the Three Lions ‘will not roll out a red carpet’ for Kylian Mbappe. He added that despite Mbappe being the top scorer at the 2022 Qatar World Cup with 5 goals, he must not stand in the way of England reaching a semifinal.
At club level, Walker has faced Mbappe three times- won twice, and lost once against PSG. England manager Gareth Southgate is expected to use a back three, with Walker covering a right-wing back (Trent A. Arnold or Kieran Trippier) in an attempt to stop the 23-year-old Mbappe.
Jude Bellingham vs Adrien Rabiot
19-year-old Jude Bellingham has been a standout performer for England at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. He scored in England’s 6-2 win over Iran and assisted in their Round of 16 fixture against Senegal.
Rabiot has also had a good tournament, scoring and providing an assist in France’s 4-1 win over Australia in the opening game.
Olivier Giroud vs Harry Maguire
France’s all-time top scorer Olivier Giroud is expected to make his mark in this fixture against England. He comes up against England’s Harry Maguire. Giroud’s time in the Premier League with Arsenal should aid him in dealing with both Maguire and John Stones, two hard-tackling Premier League defenders.
Speaking to RMC Sport Giroud said, “It’ll be tough, physical and intense. They’re guys against whom I’ve played a lot of matches, sometimes I won, sometimes I lost. We know each other well, it’ll be all about the details.”
Griezmann vs Foden
Atlético Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann has featured in all four games for France at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. He is yet to score despite starting 3 out of 4 games, and will definitely want to put his name on the scoreboard. In the 2018 World Cup Griezmann scored 4 goals.
Manchester City’s Phil Foden spoke to BBC after England’s Round of 16 win over Senegal on Sunday, “[France] look like the strongest in the competition up to now. [But] we back ourselves every day and we are confident. We all want to play in the biggest games and there’s no bigger game than France.”
The England midfielder provided 2 assists in the 3-0 win over Senegal, and always has an eye for goal.
Ousmane Dembélé vs Bukayo Saka
The FC Barcelona striker, Ousmane Dembélé is bringing back his full form in the 2022 Qatar World Cup. He impressed in the opening 4-1 win against Australia, providing an assist for Mbappe.
Le10Sport, a French magazine, wrote: “Ousmane Dembélé has matured and it shows! The FC Barcelona striker gave the Danish defense a nightmare in the first half. Constantly in provocation, Dembélé could have offered several assists if his teammates had been more successful.” This was after their second fixture, a 2-1 win against Denmark.
England’s Bukayo Saka has only not started in one game for England at the 2022 Qatar World Cup after being rested for the final Group B fixture against Wales. He has three goals at the tournament, and should he start ahead of Marcus Rashford, then he will definitely be eyeing the Golden Boot.