Next ! While Poland wasn’t enough to stop the victorious French team, the British are candidates to take out the Blues and their resume is more troubling than that of the Habs’ previous adversaries. 2018 World Cup semi-finalist, Euro 2021 finalist England arrives in the quarter-finals after beating Senegal 3-0 this Sunday.
Like the Blues, England inherited an accessible group. The “Three Lions” managed to brutally enter the competition, not sparing Iran (6-2). They were then hampered by American tension in the 0-0 runoff before taking advantage of Welsh weakness and Marcus Rashford’s (3-0) fiery legs to secure the lead.
The English did not flinch before the match against Senegal this Sunday. Faced with the Senegal Lions, Southgate’s men proved their ability to level up when adversity escalated. France will have to be wary of English highlights. The latter sometimes purred before pressing the “On” button and hitting targets and opportunities.
If they are very realistic in attack (12 goals in 4 matches), they show a certain weakness in defense when the pressure increases.
During the World Cup in Russia, Harry Kane scored half of the twelve English goals. Four years later, he did not score in the group stage and turned into a passer. The Tottenham striker shines in a suit that looks more like the number 10 than a clean centre-forward. His three transmissions helped shed light on young long-toothed lions.
Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford especially benefited from the caviar of their experienced captain (29 years old). The two mentioned players did not start in the first two games but took care of their statistics against Wales. Rashford scored three times and multiplied his streak of devastating dribbles. Spared against the Welshman, Bukayo Saka brought freshness to the table and Jude Bellingham delivered a shot to a midfielder who had little attraction for an opponent’s goal during the last Euro.
The history between France and England is rich in 31 confrontations, but we must go back to 2012 to remember the duel in an official match. In the Euro group stage, Samir Nasri scored the equalizer for the Blues (1-1) before putting his index finger to his lips. These two formations had neither the appearance nor the strength demonstrated ten years later.
It’s hard to learn from the two games played since then. The match, won by England in 2015 (2:0), followed the attacks on 13 November. In 2017, the French won (3-2) over an uninteresting English eleven. Among active players from five years earlier, only Kane, Raheem Sterling, John Stones and even Eric Dier are due to take the field next Saturday.
Before the eighth match against Senegal, Gareth Southgate refused to mention the quarter-final against the Blues. An ironic nod to the past: in 2016, the Three Lions would have crossed the tricolor road in the quarter-finals had they not lost to Iceland. At the time, coach Roy Hodgson dared to project a potential Franco-English duel.