England and France should be an intriguing clash in the World Cup quarter-finals.
They are two talented teams, ones with contrasting approaches to the game that have yet to meet in a major tournament with their current squads.
In saying that, France will be the favourites. Not only are they more proven on the biggest stage having taken some big scalps in recent tournaments, they also have more individual quality in many areas of the pitch despite missing some key contributors in midfield.
It will be close, but the French will have an edge heading into the game.
Shearer & Ferdinand big up England on the BBC
Of course, those in England might well view the game differently.
That certainly seemed to be the case on the BBC this afternoon, with both Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand talking up their old team ahead of the quarter-finals.
Shearer said that England should not fear France ahead of the game and that it may well in fact be the other way around.
They should be full of confidence. It was almost perfect, in the first 25 minutes found a couple of things difficult and had to rely on the goalkeeper to make a brilliant save.
But then after that, I thought it was superb. The manager got it right again, he made big decisions in his team selection that worked for them.
Respect France, admire France, yes. Fear France? Absolutely not.
Let them fear us. Let them look at our options and think 'wow'...
Mbappe is very good, but we've got very good players in attacking positions as well not only to start, but come on and change the game if need be.
Let France fear England rather than the other way around.
Belle victoire et qualification pour le quart de finale 🇫🇷💪🏽… pic.twitter.com/ps3B4PrTQB
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) December 4, 2022
An interesting take.
As for Ferdinand, he strongly hinted that France aren't necessarily all that strong in their current guise.
If you said to England that you were going to play against a France team that was missing five of their starters and a 36-year old centre forward (they'd be delighted).
I think they should really go on the front foot and really put it to this French team. We have watched France, we respect them and they're a good team, but I don't think they're as good a team as this England team.
They've got a brilliant individual, but our nucleus of players is top drawer.
Considering some of England's own frailties at times in this tournament, it may not be as straightforward as is being hinted at here.
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