World Cup: England ‘hoping and believing’ as they prepare for ultimate test against France | UK News

On the way to the world championship, England must end France’s championship reign.

Beating holders has never been achieved by England at a World Cup.

France posed the ultimate test for Gareth Southgate’s side at Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday night in their quest to reach the semi-finals of the tournament for a third consecutive season.

Captain Harry Kane said: “I feel like trust has been built and built over the last five years.

“We entered this tournament hoping and believing we could win.”

disable Qatar 2022 Top scorer Kylian Mbappe will be essential – a possible task for Kyle Walker.

Kyle Walker and Kylian Mbappe during a Champions League match at the Parc des Princes in September 2021 (Pic: AP)
The last time Kyle Walker and Kylian Mbappe faced off was in a Champions League match in September 2021. Photo: AP

Southgate said: “Kyle is ready. We are talking about one of the opponents, but France are a great team and we know all their players.”

Not only has Mbappe scored five of France’s nine goals here, but he has also assisted two of them.

Then there’s the often underrated Olivier Giroud.

Soccer Football - Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup - Round of 16 - England v Senegal - Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar - December 4, 2022 Jordan Henderson of England celebrates his first goal with teammates REUTERS/Marko Djurica TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Jordan Henderson celebrates his goal against Senegal

Three goals from the 36-year-old brought the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker to a record 52 goals for France.

And there is a familiar face in the French goal – with Hugo Lloris having spent the past decade in London in a Tottenham shirt.

“Most of our players know them very well,” said the France captain. “We’re used to facing them.

“For some of us, of course, we play and train with them every day in England and if we can help our teammates with any specific knowledge we I have about them, then of course we’ll do it.

“On set pieces, yes, that’s one of their strong points, they’re very tall and they have some good free-kicks. I think every little detail counts.”

Read more
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England's Jude Bellingham celebrates Jordan Henderson's opening goal in the FIFA World Cup
Jude Bellingham

For England, it will be solidity in defence.

The only goal was in the opening 6-2 win over Iran – when the match was decided. The games kept clean sheets in the three games since then.

Up front, England are no longer dependent on Kane, who is just one short of Wayne Rooney’s national team record of 53 goals.

Just one of England’s 12 goals has come from the captain – with eight different scorers compared to France’s three.

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And Kane feels that the Euro 2020 finalists have more “confidence” in Russia in 2018 when they were turned down by Croatia the chance to meet France in the final.

Croatia has yet to reach the final again after reaching the semi-finals – by stunning Brazil in a penalty shootout to arrange a meeting with Argentina, who defeated the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.

The opponent in the semi-finals of England or France will be Portugal or Morocco.


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