France winning World Cup 2018

World Cup 2022 quarter-final preview: England vs France – Three Lions’ toughest test

This is the fourth and final quarter-final, taking place at the Al Bayt Stadium at 7pm on Saturday 10 December. 

Whoever comes out on top will know their semi-final opponent already, the winner will face either Morocco or Portugal. 

Historical context 

This is the first World Cup meeting between the two sides in 40 years.

 England have a slight historical edge over France, winning 17 of the 31 meetings. 

They’ve faced off just twice in previous World Cups with England winning on both occasions, 2-0 in 1966 and 3-1 in 1982. 

Team news


Raheem Sterling is set to re-join the England squad later today after missing their last 16 tie with Senegal. 

He travels back to Qatar after an armed robbery took place at his family home last Saturday.

Ben White remains unavailable after leaving the squad last week due to personal reasons. 

Declan Rice, who has started every game of England’s World Cup campaign, missed training on Wednesday due to illness but is expected to be ready in time for Saturday’s clash. 

Callum Wilson also missed training on Wednesday as he is recovering from a muscle problem. 


Star striker Kylian Mbappe missed training on Tuesday and partook in a separate ‘individual recovery session’. 

However, the World Cup’s leading goal scorer will be fit and ready for the quarter-final clash.  

Key Battles

Kylian Mbappe vs Kyle Walker

France versus England has become Mbappe versus Walker in the lead-up to this game. 

The PSG left-winger has been in scintillating form in this World Cup leading the Golden Boot race with five goals and adding two assists to his tally.

Walker came into the tournament as the second choice at right-back, behind Kieran Trippier, but his superb physical attributes have led many to believe that he is the perfect foil to Mbappe’s frightening pace and power.

Jude Bellingham vs Aurelien Tchouameni

Jude Bellingham has been the break-out star of the tournament and is now one of the first names on the team sheet for England.

Aurelien Tchouameni made a big-money move to Real Madrid in the summer and after a slow start has been a very efficient player when called upon.

For France however, he has been a key player and will be used to stop Bellingham’s breaking runs from the midfield, if the Borussia Dortmund wonder kid isn’t contained, England may run away with the game.

Phil Foden vs Jules Kounde

This ‘key battle’ already has question marks around it as both players are far from certain to start. 

However, if they do, the game could be decided on whoever comes out on top in this match-up down France’s right-hand side.

Kounde has struggled playing out of position in an unfamiliar right-back position and will struggle with Foden’s agility and dribbling.

Route to the Quarter-Final

England finished top of Group B with wins against Iran and Wales as well as a goalless draw against the USA. 

They showed particular attacking flair when they scored six goals against Iran and three against Wales. 

This meant they qualified to face second in Group A, Senegal, in the last-16 and brushed them aside 3-0, with goals from Jordan Henderson, Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka. 

In France, World Champions from four years ago, they face their toughest test of the competition so far.

France were comfortable in qualifying despite a loss to Tunisia in their final group D game. 

They bounced back from conceding the first goal against Australia to beat them 4-1, thanks largely to two goals from Olivier Giroud. 

Arguably the planet’s greatest player Kylian Mbappe took over to score two and beat Denmark 2-1 before a heavily changed side were bested by their former colony, Tunisia. 

It was the Mbappe show again in the last 16 when he exploded to add two goals to Giroud’s first-half strike. 

They face their toughest test in England as well looking to defend their title.   

Predicted starting line-ups 

Both sides are expected to name unchanged line-ups from their convincing round of 16 victories.

England XI (4-3-3): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Henderson, Rice, Bellingham; Saka, Kane Foden

France XI (4-3-3): Lloris; Kounde, Varane, Upamecano, Hernandez; Griezmann, Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembele, Giroud, Mbappe.

Match Prediction

England 4 – 3 France

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Photo credit: via Wikimedia Commons credited under CC BY 4.0

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