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How Can France Become The Second Back-To-Back World Cup Winner?

By Jeff Stinger

France has the services of one of the best strikers in the world to help them claim back-to-back World Cup titles. Kylian Mbappe already records five goals in the tournament and is a heavy favorite to win the top goalscorer award at -185. His presence is much needed up front, but the rest of the French lineup feature capable talent that makes them more than worthy opponents against a promising English squad. With the first knockout game out of the way, how can Les Bleus overcome more formidable opponents this time?

France vs. England quarter-final match talking points

READ MORE: Portugal’s Path To The 2022 FIFA World Cup Final

Long-winded history

The France vs. England rivalry dates back over nine decades ago. This matchup happened 31 times in major competitions and the Three Lions have come out on top in 17 of those games. Meanwhile, France won nine games and five ended in a draw. Even though the English squad has the historical edge, there’s no denying that France has the momentum in this one. Head coach Didier Deschamps and his players are keen to defend the title and look forward to improving their performance against the Brits.

Since both sides are attack-focused, there’s a good chance of this being a high-scoring game. England and France rank amongst the highest-scoring teams in the World Cup with the English side logging 12 goals and the French bagging ten goals for themselves and coming in as +142 quarter-final game winners.

Goalkeeping royalty

Other than the fact that this game features two of the best strikers in Kylian Mbappe and Harry Kane, there are also the two top-tier Premier League players in goal. The performance of England’s Jordan Pickford and France’s veteran goalkeeper Hugo Lloris will be closely watched. The goalkeepers have been impressive for their respective teams. Pickford conceded just two goals in the tournament so far, while France is likely to rely heavily on Lloris given that they lost an unexpected battle to Tunisia in his absence.

The Tottenham starting goalkeeper did give up a trio of goals in his 2022 FIFA World Cup account. But, experience and leadership make him a vital component in their efforts to secure a semi-final spot. Ultimately, we expect some magnificent saves from the shot-stoppers given that England and France are heavy on the attack.

A battle of depth

As the World Cup intensifies, bench strength becomes of paramount importance. The French did face a minor scare when Mbappe sat out of practice a few days before the match and would need their star forward in tip-top shape at all costs. Although England presents a stronger bench on paper and will have the advantage in that respect, the French squad does have its wild card picks that can deliver.

In contrast to depth, Mbappe’s devastating form will be the first thing Gareth Southgate’s men need to deal with. British defenders Luke Shaw, John Stone, and Harry Maguire will have a run for their money this weekend as +208 match underdogs.

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