England vs France: Analysis of Didier Deschamps’ side ahead of World Cup quarter-final | Football News


It’s the blockbuster quarter-final at this World Cup. The reigning World Cup winners in opposition to not just one of their closest rivals in phrases of geography, however one of the largest threats to stealing their crown.

England vs France on Saturday evening brings collectively the 2 highest-ranked European groups left within the match, the 2 top-scoring groups nonetheless at this World Cup, in addition to the 2 finest gamers within the Golden Boot and Glove standings.

Quite a bit of the eye surrounding this recreation will centre round how England can maintain Kylian Mbappe quiet, if that’s even attainable. And when you might discuss all day about what one of the perfect gamers on this planet might do to wreck England, France have rather more to them than their 23-year-old talisman.

England vs France on Saturday is arguably the sport of the match up to now

As Luke Shaw stated this week, it might be “naïve” for Gareth Southgate’s side to centre their defensive plan on only one participant, albeit a devastating one. Kyle Walker agrees: “The game’s not England vs Mbappe, it’s England vs France.”

So the place else do France’s strengths lie – and the place are their weaknesses for England to use? And simply how good are Didier Deschamps’ side general, particularly in comparison with the in-form England group?

Goals getting in at each ends

France have breezed by way of the early rounds by scoring 9 targets – however the principle concern is on the different finish of the pitch. Les Bleus have did not maintain a clear sheet in all 4 of their World Cup video games up to now.

It is not any shock that the France backline has been a little bit leaky given the overhaul it has been compelled into since Deschamps first named his squad.

Hugo Lloris (right) is open to an error in goal and struggled in the group stages
Hugo Lloris (proper) is open to an error in purpose and struggled within the group phases

Key defender Presnel Kimpembe was dominated out of the match with harm, Lucas Hernandez picked up a long-term knee downside within the first match of the match whereas Benjamin Pavard fell out of favour halfway by way of the group phases.

But one space of concern is goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who has developed a fame of committing high-profile big-game errors lately for each membership and nation.

Lloris solely confronted three photographs heading in the right direction throughout his two group stage matches, however nonetheless let in two targets regardless of going through a mixed Expected Goals Against (xGA) complete of 1.2. It was the fifth-worst ‘Goals Prevented’ tally out of the 30 goalkeepers who performed two video games or extra within the group phases.

In layman’s phrases, Lloris failed to guard his purpose effectively within the uncommon events he was known as upon – his solely two saves of the match up to now have been very low xG photographs – which isn’t an encouraging signal contemplating the World Cup’s high scorers are up in opposition to him on Saturday.


The different concern at this World Cup for France is how their targets have been unfold among the many group. Out of their 9 targets, 5 have been scored by Mbappe, the remaining 4 have been taken up by simply two different gamers.

Compared to England, who’ve eight totally different goalscorers among the many 12 strikes they’ve managed up to now in Qatar, Les Bleus have relied on only a few gamers to be the distinction makers.

The skilled core

Both England and France have an identical profile of squad in phrases of the mix of youth and expertise. Les Bleus’ common age of their 25-man squad is 27.3, England being ever so barely youthful at 26.8.

The distinction between the 2 groups on this regard is that France’s older gamers play a way more essential position of their beginning line-ups.

The two most important outdated boys in Deschamps’ side lie at separate ends of the pitch. While 35-year-old goalkeeper and captain Lloris is the principle veteran on the again, Olivier Giroud is one of the star males up entrance.


Giroud turned France’s all-time file goalscorer within the final 16 win over Poland, along with his tally of 52 eclipsing that of the nice Thierry Henry.

The veteran ahead can also be integral to France’s play given Deschamps’ obsession with the penalty space. France have managed over twice as many photographs on purpose from contained in the field (48) in comparison with exterior the world (20). Arsenal and Chelsea followers will understand how scientific the striker is relating to first-time finishes in that first zone.

Giroud has additionally spoken about his “bromance” with Mbappe, with the pair already combining twice for one another on this match. There’s a cause the place there may be such a feel-good feeling when each gamers seem collectively: France have solely misplaced 4 out of the 34 matches by which Giroud and Mbappe have performed as a duo.

Giroud has spoken about the bromance he has with Mbappe (left)
Giroud has spoken concerning the bromance he has with Mbappe (left)

There’s additionally an essential position for Raphael Varane on this France group, with the 29-year-old defender performing as a pacesetter amongst Jules Kounde, Theo Hernandez and Dayot Upamecano – all aged 25 or underneath.

The Manchester United defender’s successful mentality, emanating from 18 trophy lifts at Real Madrid and the World Cup 4 years in the past with France, was clear to see at half-time of the last-16 conflict with Poland, which Les Bleus ended up successful 3-1.

“Varane had serious and fair words in the dressing room at half-time,” Giroud stated. “We were lucky Poland didn’t score and we were ahead and it was a gentle reminder to fight and to remain solid and united.

Raphael Varane wins a header in the Poland penalty area
Raphael Varane has been a key participant on the again for France

“Rafa felt we’d relaxed our levels and we had to keep fighting. It’s important to remain positive and he reminded us of that.”

The shock midfield duo

France have been hoping to have the formidable duo of N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba obtainable for this match, so as to add to that have. Injury setbacks for the pair have allowed Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot into the limelight for this match.

Despite some pre-tournament considerations, the whole lot has appeared to completely fall into place within the center of the park for France. Tchouameni has been one of the shining lights of the World Cup up to now, performing because the metronome on the base of Les Bleus’ midfield.


No participant has extra interceptions than the 22-year-old up to now on this World Cup, whereas solely 5 gamers have accomplished extra passes than Tchouameni, permitting for a 95 per cent accuracy price.

Meanwhile, Rabiot has develop into one of the shock packages of this match up to now. The 27-year-old has suffered his critics at Juventus over time and the midfielder even requested to be dropped from France’s standby record for the 2018 World Cup, a alternative which Rabiot later admitted was a giant remorse.

Now he’s one of the extra dependable figures on this France side and his onerous work off the ball has been essential to France’s press. Tchouameni’s astuteness behind him permits him to have an effect on issues additional ahead, in addition to performing in a good pivot position.

Adrien Rabiot celebrates his equaliser against Australia
Adrien Rabiot is one of simply three goalscorers for France on this match

“He’s a player who is very important for the balance of the team,” stated Deschamps within the group phases. “He can win the ball back, he’s strong, he can head the ball and he can score goals. I have to stop him getting forward too many times, which is fine.”

How Tchouameni and Rabiot take care of Jude Bellingham and Jordan Henderson on Saturday evening will even be a vital issue.

The new Griezmann?

In reality, one might even argue that France’s midfield entails three gamers – as Antoine Griezmann has loved a profitable match in a deeper position nearer to Tchouameni and Rabiot.

The 31-year-old has been taken away from his attacking midfield position and is hardly extra superior than Rabiot, who sits on the base with Tchouameni.


It has been a optimistic swap from Deschamps too, as whereas Griezmann is taking over areas of the pitch which can be additional away from the opposition purpose, he has not misplaced any of his attacking affect.

The midfielder has created extra goalscoring possibilities than every other participant within the match (15), two ahead of his closest competitor Lionel Messi. No participant within the match has received the ball within the last third extra, nor entered the penalty space greater than Griezmann, whereas he’s additionally within the high 10 gamers within the World Cup for through-balls and accomplished last third passes.

Griezmann’s technical means has allowed France to unlock Mbappe’s blistering menace from the deep areas the previous occupies. In the primary half of the 2-1 win over Denmark, Griezmann performed an excellent ball from inside his personal penalty field to launch the France No 10 on the break, solely a last-ditch foul from Andreas Christensen stopped that clear-cut likelihood.

Meanwhile, the transfer for France’s second purpose in opposition to Poland got here from Griezmann being the deepest participant again for France, clearing an opposition break from inside his personal space once more – then the entrance three completed of the transfer.

Antoine Griezmann is felled by Bartosz Bereszynski
Antoine Griezmann has loved a deeper position on this match

It’s a job that Griezmann would not thoughts taking over. “I can do many more things, but the coach has asked me to do a very precise role and the most important thing is to respect it,” he stated after France certified for the knockout rounds.

“If I’m frustrated? Not at all, if we win the World Cup. If I have to stay back more, I’ll have to do it.”

When he does get ahead, Griezmann helps create an overload on the France proper alongside Ousmane Dembele – a two-pronged assault that has caused success on that wing.

Dembele is just second to Harry Kane in assists from open play on this match, whereas Griezmann has accomplished extra crosses (12) than every other participant at this Qatar World Cup up to now.

France do not have their standard depth

France’s power in depth has been usually described as phenomenal – proper all through the pitch.

In the final World Cup, Dembele – a key determine on this France group now – was largely an unused substitute. At Euro 2020, Deschamps might afford to depart Giroud on the bench as a contemporary possibility in reserve. The defence and midfield have been often rotated in each tournaments to maintain opponents guessing.

This World Cup was meant to be the one likelihood at mixing the trophy-winning expertise of Varane, Kante and Karim Benzema with the all-star youth of as we speak that features Tchouameni, Kounde and Eduardo Camavinga to make a fiercely aggressive France side. It hasn’t fairly labored out like that.

France have lacked the depth they normally have at this tournament
France have lacked the depth they usually have at this match

Injuries to Benzema, Pogba, Kante, Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku within the lead-up to the match meant some of the youthful midfielders have been fast-tracked to key members of the squad.

The depth of the group has suffered in consequence. In the three matches the place Deschamps has used his ‘strongest’ XI on this World Cup up to now, the France supervisor has solely used the complete quota of 5 substitutes simply as soon as – that was within the opening recreation in opposition to Australia.

It hints at Deschamps not being absolutely content material with the choices he has in reserve, significantly in assault. Marcus Thuram is their solely different possibility ought to Giroud have an off day and whereas Kingsley Coman is an everyday substitute – he has solely been trusted with quarter-hour of motion in every World Cup recreation up to now.

France manager Didier Deschamps has not been one to turn to his bench too often
France supervisor Didier Deschamps has not been one to show to his bench too usually

The drop in high quality of the France back-up stars was clear to see when a much-changed side misplaced their useless rubber group stage encounter 1-0 in opposition to Tunisia on matchday three.

Compare that to England, who might depend on the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, Callum Wilson and James Maddison to clean up the assault. Trent Alexander-Arnold will not be a foul possibility going ahead as effectively.

This World Cup quarter-final might effectively be determined from the substitutes’ bench.


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