France vs England – the old rivalry is renewed for the first time in the World Cup knockout phase. Les Bleus are feeling confident after a 3-1 win over Poland which saw Kylian Mbappé shine with two goals and a historic goal from Olivier Giroud to become France’s top goalscorer ahead of Thierry Henry.
However, up against them is an England team that has also impressed during the World Cup. After opening the group stage with a 6-2 win over Iran, England topped their group and faced Senegal in the round of 16, beating them 3-0 with goals from Jordan Henderson, Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane. The upcoming fixture will be crucial in determining the winner of the tournament. It is a huge clash between two historic rivals.
England vs France: A tight contest at every position
France and England have been deemed the two best teams for the 2022 World Cup based on their performances. Didier Deschamps and Gareth Southgate are organising their teams in a way that limits risk but also allows their attacking players to perform to their full potential. England will have strength in depth on the bench and in their squad in this game, while the quality of France’s starting XI is arguably stronger. France will need to win in the opening phase, but England will not mind a conservative approach if they can use their bench later in the game.
Clash England vs France: Two close countries
This will be the third World Cup meeting between England and France, the Three Lions having won the previous two: a 2-0 victory in 1966 and 3-1 in 1982, both in the group stage. France have lost only one of their last eight meetings with England in all competitions (5W 2D), a 2-0 defeat in a friendly in November 2015. This is the first clash between the two nations since June 2017, when Les Bleus won 3-2 in a friendly.
England vs France: No Change expected
England are expected to keep the same line-up against France in a 4-3-3 with a front three made of Phil Foden, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka. Jude Bellingham should once again start in a fluid midfield role with Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson fixed in the number eight position. All this in front of a four-man defence with Kyle Walker at right-back.
France, on the other hand, will start with a 4-2-3-1 formation that should also be unchanged from the win over Poland. Olivier Giroud is also expected to start in the number 9 position with Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé on the wings. France’s three midfielders, Rabiot, Griezmann and Tchouaméni, who have proved their worth so far, should be back in the line-up, while the back four should remain unchanged.
The Keys to the game: Can England tame Kylian Mbappé ?
While this fixture has been characterised as a battle all over the pitch, the battle between Kyle Walker and Kylian Mbappé has been highlighted as vital in deciding the outcome of this clash. Although Kyle Walker is known for his impressive performances against Mbappé in the Champions League with Manchester City, he will face a more mature and fit player during this World Cup.
With that in mind, England have some contingency plans in place. While Poland opted to double Mbappé (which didn’t work out), Gareth Southgate is going to put an attacking player directly in front of the Paris Saint-Germain star – in an attempt to expose his defensive frailties. A strategy inspired by Chelsea’s Champions League clash against Barcelona in 2012. Can England do to Mbappé what Chelsea did to Lionel Messi back then? While France are clear favourites with Kylian Mbappé, if England can neutralise his threat, they will truly be on equal footing with Les Bleus.
Other Predictions to consider for this England vs France at 8 Pm
While we predict a French win against England, an English victory could prove profitable with French bookmakers. In a game with the attacking flair of both teams, goals are to be expected with Mbappé, Giroud, Saka, Foden, Bellingham and Kane all playing on the same pitch. An underrated choice to score would be Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka who has already scored three times and is in great form in the World Cup on the right side. If you want to bet on France, but are worried about the tight nature of the fixture, perhaps a Draw No Bet could be ideal for you. Then, your bet will be refunded if the game ends in a draw in regular time.