England will take on France in the quarter-finals of the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar on Saturday, December 10.
Les Bleus will be looking to replicate their impressive performance in their previous game where they defeated Poland 3-1.
The Three Lions, on the other hand, are yet to be defeated in this year’s edition of the World Cup and will be looking to extend their four-game unbeaten run in this competition.
This game is crucial as a win for either side will send them into the semi-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
On that note, this article will look at three individual battles that could determine the outcome of this encounter.
#3 Harry Kane vs Raphael Varane
Kane is one of the best finishers currently in the footballing world and his contributions have been significant for England in attack.
The Tottenham Hotspur striker is versatile as he can score and create scoring opportunities for his teammates. Furthermore, the skipper has netted one goal and has registered three assists in four appearances in the competition so far.
Affording Kane enough room in the penalty box could prove to be a deadly risk as he can convert all kinds of scoring opportunities. Monitoring his movements in attack is tough as he could drop deep into the midfield to facilitate an attack and Raphael Varane will have to keep an eye on him if he intends to keep him under the tab in this encounter.
However, Varane is fast and his defensive intuition has been impressive for France in this competition so far. It will be interesting to see if he can use his vast experience to silence Kane in this encounter.
#2 Bukayo Saka vs Theo Hernandez
Saka is one of England’s most clinical wingers in the competition so far, having netted three goals in three games.
🏴 Bukayo Saka leads the way…
Saka is tricky and very sharp with the ball on the right flank as his vision in the final third of the pitch is also remarkable. Affording the Arsenal forward enough room to advance with the ball from the right flank could be deadly and Theo Hernandez will have his work cut out.
However, Hernandez’s contributions have been significant for France as he has registered two assists in three games in the competition so far. However, he will have to be defensively sharp if he intends to keep Saka in check.
#1 Kylian Mbappe vs Harry Maguire
Mbappe is arguably the best-performing attacker in this year’s edition of the competition, having netted five goals in four games so far.
Three more wins to repeat.
Kylian Mbappé and France have that look in their eyes
The Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forward is like a time bomb that could explode at any given moment in attack and he could also use his pace to outrun defenders. Affording Mbappe enough room in attack could be dangerous as he could singlehandedly split defenses.
His explosive power makes it difficult to track his movement in attack and Harry Maguire will have to be defensively robust if he intends to keep Mbappe under his tabs in this encounter.
However, Maguire has been impressive in England’s defense in this competition so far. But his mastery will be put to the test in this encounter.
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