A classic, but not in the World Cup
Between France and England, it’s “I love you neither”. The two nations have maintained a historic rivalry, and not just in football, for that matter. This Saturday’s opposition will be the 42e of its kind (only Belgium, with 75 confrontations, exceeds this total). But only the third in the World Cup and the first in the knockout phase.
Les Bleus had a hard time learning at the start of the 20th century, losing their first six matches with unflattering scores. The English did not begin to count until 1947… The results are clearly unfavorable: 11 wins, 6 draws and 24 losses.
At the World Cup, the two selections have faced each other in the group stage so far: in 1966, the year of the coronation of the Three Lions, the tricolor defeat (0-2) had a bitter taste since the two goals were disputed; in 1982, under the heat of Bilbao, the French had melted in front of the English vigor (1-3).
So it’s time for the third meeting. It could have happened earlier but the selection of Gareth Southgate had stopped in the semi-finals in 2018. Two years earlier, the meeting had still been missed in the quarter-finals of the Euro following the Icelandic exploit against Premier League players. But everything comes at the right time to who knows how to wait. This meeting, between two of the best attacks of the competition, promises a lot.
Walker/Mbappé, a game within the game
There has been a lot of talk about it in recent days: the face-to-face between Kyle Walker and Kylian Mbappé, two players at the top of impressive speed, will be very interesting to follow. The two players have already met in the Champions League with Manchester City and PSG, and the right side did not come out badly to curb the offensive impulses of the French.
“I have already played against him several times with Manchester City and he is a fantastic player, in great form. It’s not going to be easy but when you’re pro you want to play against the best and he’s one of the best, if not the best as we speak, Kyle Walker said during a press point where he was bombarded with questions about his future duel with “KMB”. I understand why we are focusing on that, but it’s not England-Mbappé, it’s England-France. He is a top player but we don’t play tennis, it’s a team sport. »
It will be a tough game, and I’m not going to roll out the red carpet for him to score. I represent my country in the quarter-finals of the World Cup
For his part, Kylian Mbappé remains faithful to his media diet as he explained after the French qualification against Poland. His teammates spoke for him and described a very laid back player. “He is focused on his game, on what he has to do, on what the team has to do. I feel very calm and very determined, ”says Youssouf Fofana.
“Kylian is in his match, in his preparation. He ignores what can be said around, assures captain Hugo Lloris. He doesn’t need that. He has very specific objectives, whether individually or with the team. I feel detached, smiling, focused on the game ahead of us. Just like what he has been giving off since the beginning. »
Unique records for Lloris
After having equaled Lilian Thuram for the most number of selections in the French team, against Poland (142), Hugo Lloris will dethrone the defender, holder of the record of selections for 16 years. He will be alone in the lead now, honoring his 143e heading against England. Lloris will break two other national records, that of the greatest number of matches played in the World Cup (18) and in the international final phase of the World Cup or Euro (33 matches).
Kane/Giroud: for whom the 53e but ?
Harry Kane, the English striker and captain (29) and Olivier Giroud (36), both scored 52 goals in selections, but the first reached this total in just 79 matches, against 117 for the second. If Giroud is already the record holder for goals scored in the France team, since he overtook Thierry Henry (51) in the 8e final against Poland, Kane can equal Wayne Rooney (53 goals), top scorer in the history of the selection of the Three Lions, if he scores a goal against the Blues.
Griezmann, 71 continuous matches since the last France – England
Antoine Griezmann should play with the Blues for the 72e consecutively against England. Ironically, this series began after the last confrontation between France and England (3-2, in a friendly at the Stade de France), in June 2017. That evening, he remained on the bench.
The number: 7
Kylian Mbappé is involved in the last 7 goals of the French team disputed in the World Cup (5 goals, 2 assists). According to Opta, which has been analyzing competition data since 1966, it equals Gerd Müller in 1970, Oleg Salenko with Russia in 1994 and David Villa with Spain in 2006-2010. To date, no player has been decisive on 8 consecutive goals for his team in the World Cup.
“I imagine England will make arrangements, as our previous four opponents have done. Afterwards, Kylian has this ability to be able to make a difference, and even in the last match, when he was not in his best shape, he was still decisive. “Didier Deschamps, about the marking expected from the English, on Mbappé.
The probable teams
England: Pickford – Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw – Henderson, Rice – Saka, Bellingham, Kane (cap.), Foden
Coach: Gareth Southgate (ENG)
France: Lloris (cap.) – Koundé, Varane, Upamecano, T. Hernandez – Tchouaméni, Rabiot – Dembélé, Griezmann, Mbappé – Giroud.
Coach: Didier Deschamps (FRA)
Arbitrator: Wilton Pereira Sampaio (BRE)
Source: Le Progrès : info et actu nationale et régionale – Rhône, Loire, Ain, Haute-Loire et Jura | Le Progrès by www.leprogres.fr.
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