England face arguably their toughest test of the Gareth Southgate era as they take on France in the quarter-finals of the Qatar World Cup.
France, champions four years ago in Russia, have long been one of the favourites to go all the way in Qatar, a status only boosted by Didier Deschamps’ team as they topped their group then saw off Poland in the last 16.
Meanwhile, England finished atop their group before securing a comfortable 3-0 victory over Senegal in the round of 16.
The winners of this quarter-final will go on to play either Morocco or Portugal in the semi-finals, with France and the in-form Kylian Mbappe expected by many fans to prove too much for England here. Here’s all you need to know.
When is it?
The match is scheduled to kick off at 7pm GMT (10pm local time) on Saturday 10 December.
The fixture is set to take place at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
How can I watch it?
England vs France will air live on ITV 1 in the UK, and it will stream live on the broadcaster’s ITVX website and app.
What is the team news?
England are expected to name an unchanged team against France, with Gareth Southgate set to select a 4-3-3 formation despite the threat posed by Kylian Mbappe.
That means Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden will start either side of Harry Kane, with Jordan Henderson once again joining Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice in midfield.
Kyle Walker will face the biggest match of his career against Mbappe at right back, with John Stones, Henderson and Saka all set to offer support.
Raheem Sterling will be involved after returning to training on Friday, although the forward remains short of preparation time after flying back to the UK this week, while Callum Wilson has shaken off an injury niggle.
France star Mbappe missed training on Tuesday due to an apparent ankle issue, but the forward was back on the pitch a day later, fortunately for Les Bleus.
England XI: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Henderson, Rice, Bellingham; Foden, Kane, Saka.
France XI: Lloris; Kounde, Varane, Upamecano, T Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot, Griezmann; Dembele, Giroud, Mbappe.
England – 2/1
France – 29/20
Draw (90 minutes only) – 9/4
Some more pessimistic England fans have claimed that France will steamroll Southgate’s side. The truth is that, even with France as favourites, games like this tend to be cagey, which is worth bearing in mind. England’s last two major tournament exits have come after the team has led, so don’t be surprised if they score first here – only to be undone by France’s greater quality in the long run. England 1-2 France after extra time.
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