England are set to battle France on Saturday night for a spot in the World Cup semi-finals.
Interestingly, the two nations have never met in the knockout rounds of a major tournament, and meetings between them are rare. France will enter the game as the reigning champions, whereas England will stroll in as easy favroutires.
The French are hoping to become just the second team to win consecutive World Cups, and the first since 1962. Though Paul Pogba, Karim Benzema, and N’Golo Kante are missing, Les Blues are still one of the strongest on-paper sides at this tournament.
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Both teams possess an abundance of quality - with France’s Kylian Mbappe looking like the next global superstar. Oliver Giroud is a steady hand up-front, whereas Aurélien Tchouaméni is a gem in midfield.
Whilst I can’t deny the quality the French have, I simply can’t look past the embarrassment of riches offered by England. When Harry Kane isn’t fit and firing, Gareth Southgate can always look to Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden to deliver the goods.
The Three Lions were in irresistible form against Senegal last Sunday night, showcasing both their strength in attack and defence.
France looked promising, too, though it must be said they haven’t played anyone of real quality yet. Poland rolled over for them, whereas Australia fielded a team of players who were simply out of their league.
The last time these two met in a competitive game was back in 2004 - where Les Bleus defeated England 2-1 courtesy of two late Zinedine Zidane goals. The Three Lions were the much, much better team on the night, however, and were both robbed of the game and the Euro 2004 competition in general.
If you had to ask me for my prediction, then I’d wager that England will win the match by at least two goals. Whilst I can’t see Jordan Pickford keeping a clean sheet, I can see Gareth Southgate roaring victoriously at full-time.
Much as King Henry V did at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, Gareth Southgate will lead England to an emphatic victory over the French on Saturday night. It won’t be easy, but the swashbuckling style of the modern English game will be too much for the reigning champions to handle.
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