England vs France Prediction
10th December 2022
22:00 Qatar Time/19:00 GMT
Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Referee: Wilton Sampaio (Brazil)
Click to Scroll to Prediction
World Cup Head-to-Head Record
Played:2 England Wins:2
England vs France Prediction Match Overview
This mouthwatering quarter-final clash sees two of the round of 16’s most impressive sides face off to determine who will earn the right to play the winner of the quarter-final match between Morocco vs Portugal. England started the tournament in emphatic fashion, defeating an Iranian side who were supposed to provide more defensive resistance than they ultimately were able to, 6-2. The English were brought down to Earth somewhat via a dour 0-0 draw against the USA in which they were arguably second best, though international tournament football does inevitably produce these outcomes with games every few days and teams experimenting with lineups and tactics. Their final group match against Wales presented no such difficulties, with England despatching their neighbours with consummate ease in the form of a comprehensive 3-0 victory.
Senegal were touted as a step up in class despite missing talismanic striker Sadio Mane, but in truth, the Senegalese were outclassed as England produced their finest display of the tournament. Rarely troubled after a nervy opening 20 minutes, England settled well and picked the Senegalese apart. France opened their tournament in a similar style, eventually defeating Australia 4-1 after they fell behind to a shock opening goal. France laboured at points against Denmark but were the superior side, though they were made to wait until the 86th minute before Kylian Mbappe settled proceedings for a 2-1 victory. The French rang the changes against Tunisia and duly succumbed to a 1-0 defeat but were perhaps a little unfortunate not to level at the death through Antoine Griezmann.
France’s round of 16 match against Poland demonstrated why the French are one of the tournament’s most feared nations, as Mbappe and Giroud combined to devastating effect. It’s perhaps fair to say that the overall performance from the French will require some improvement against England, and this is the reason why this matchup is so compelling.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might not play:
Will not play: White (England); Benzema, L. Hernandez (France)
England vs France Prediction Analysis
How Much Should Both Teams Adapt?
With the stakes raised and a place in the semi-finals at stake, it might be understandable for both teams to exercise a degree of caution, but we don’t anticipate any changes in formation for either team. Both sides will feel that it is too much of a risk to play a cautious game in the hope that their defence won’t be breached, as each side possesses potent attacking weapons with the talents of Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane, the underrated Olivier Giroud and Phil Foden all on display. This means that both teams’ central midfield units are going to be placed under significant scrutiny for the entire match, as they will be required to supplement their respective attacking units while simultaneously providing adequate cover as both sets of full-backs like to attack and overlap. Kylian Mbappe’s searing pace and all-round threat will necessitate considerable caution and a man-marking job from Manchester City’s Kyle Walker, similar to Matty Cash’s efforts for Poland in the round of 16.
England may find it more difficult to play between the lines in this fixture, as France have both Varane and Upamecano who are comfortable in stepping out of central defence when required to nullify the danger, and Tchouameni is highly adept at marking opposition attacking midfielders. This could prove to be problematic for England because so much of their play is concentrated through Harry Kane who ostensibly plays as a Trequartista, and Phil Foden plays almost exclusively in these areas for club and country. England will need to be somewhat more direct here and play Kane in a more advanced role to keep France’s central defenders occupied. If Kane plays to type and is constantly coming deep for the ball, France are likely to be able to cope with this approach fairly comfortably.
England are proficient at defending crosses into the area from open play and set pieces, so France will need to break the English down via overloads, through balls and quick interplay. England don’t play with a dedicated holding midfielder in the same way that the French do, and this could be an area of the pitch that France could exploit. While Harry Maguire has been enthusiastic in bringing the ball out of defence to largely good effect up until this point, it’s perhaps obvious to say that they don’t want the Manchester United man to be caught out of position with the likes of Mbappe and Dembele running in behind as the chances of recovery would be slim. So we expect a less fluid approach from England, and we expect that France will find it more difficult to play off Oliver Giroud who has been impressive in the tournament thus far.
Although it can be said that winning the midfield battle is crucial in many football matches, in this match it will be crucial in determining the outcome. As previously stated, England do their most impressive work in between the defensive and midfield lines, and when the likes of Kane and Foden are afforded time and space they will, more often than not, cause the opposition defence significant problems. France’s midfield will be required to put in disciplined performances, with Tchouameni and Rabiot attempting to shut down England’s creative threats, supplemented by one of France’s centre-backs.
England will be required to press and harangue the French in midfield constantly, to cut the supply lines to Griezmann and Mbappe in particular. We don’t anticipate France using Giroud as an outlet much here, Giroud will instead be required to unsettle the English defence and create space for others. The English will also need to be incredibly wary of overcommitting their central midfielders, as both Bellingham and Rice do tend to get into advanced positions when the opportunity allows. Striking this balance will be vital for England’s chances as, although Jordan Henderson is still a classy midfielder, they will want to avoid a situation in which the Liverpool man can be overrun.
Both nations benefit from significant strength-in-depth and as such it’s very possible that this game could be decided from the bench. France, for example, could bring in the likes of Kingsley Coman and
Marcos Thuram if they want to inject more pace into their attack. This is a distinct possibility as England, Kyle Walker aside, the English back line is vulnerable in this respect. Camavinga may be required to provide an additional defensive presence in midfield if France feel that England are proving difficult to shut down between the lines.
Perhaps most obviously for England, they have an in-form Marcus Rashford to call upon off the bench. The Manchester United man may start, however, we think that Southgate will prefer the defensive side to Bukayo Saka’s game. Otherwise, England have been fairly consistent about which players they will introduce from the bench, with Southgate calling upon the likes of Mount, Dier and Phillips on various occasions.
England Key Players
Maturity is the buzzword surrounding the Borussia Dortmund teenage sensation, and England will need a mature display from the box-to-box midfielder again if they are to gain the upper hand in the middle of the park. Bellingham and Rice must function well as a midfield tandem here; with Henderson likely to sit behind most of the time, they will need to make positionally correct decisions and supplement defence and attack as required. France will make things difficult for England between the lines, and Bellingham has demonstrated in his career so far that he can burst from midfield to devastating effect when afforded the opportunity.
It’s reductive, but Walker will need to produce one of the best performances of his career to help shackle the irrepressible Kylian Mbappe. Should England fail to keep Mbappe quiet, they will be in for a long night and will probably be eliminated from the tournament. Even at 32 years of age, Walker is prodigiously quick and is defensively gifted for a fullback. Walker will likely have to sacrifice his attacking ambition to perform this role most effectively, but this is what would seem to make Walker perfectly suited for the job. A veteran of Southgate’s previous international tournament teams, Walker has often been deployed as a wide centre-back, and at club level is more of a cautious, holding presence than he was for his previous employers Spurs.
France Key Players
While football is primarily a team sport, we have to start off by acknowledging that PSG’s Kylian Mbappe is in the form of his life, and if he is not contained to a large degree by the English defence then they’ll be in for a very long night indeed. Drawing comparisons with Ronaldo (R9) for his ability to glide past defenders with ease, his exceptional technique and his finishing ability, Mbappe also possesses a cool head and an ability to read the game at a high level. Much was made of Mbappe’s public displeasure at being used as a target man for his club side PSG, and it’s perhaps instructive that Mbappe is in such red hot form coming in from his favoured left side and playing alongside a traditional number 9 in Olivier Giroud.
At just 22 years of age, Aurelien Tchouameni has established himself as France’s first-choice defensive midfielder in a position which takes years for professional footballers to master. This is testament to his positional awareness, composure on the ball and his technical ability which allows him to receive the ball on the half-turn and makes him a viable out-ball for the French both when recycling possession and launching rapid counter-attacks. In this match, his presence takes on an added importance as England enjoy playing between the lines, which has been a huge feature of their success so far during this tournament..
Beat the Bookmaker England vs France Prediction
We think that England vs France will be something of an open affair, with both teams mindful of ceding too much territory as both sides have attacking weapons that can create promising situations when very little seems on. However, we feel that it is England who may struggle to play their usual game here. In their second group match against the USA, Harry Kane in particular was forced to drop deeper and deeper in search of the ball and this had a detrimental effect on how the team functioned, to the point where a draw was a little fortunate. France should also be able to succeed in largely nullifying England’s primary attacking weapons. Things could get interesting if the English decide to introduce the in-form Marcus Rashford as the game opens up, but we foresee a hard-earned French victory with more than a few scares along the way.
England 1-3 France; France to Win in 90 Minutes
Beat the Bookmaker England vs France Prediction – France to Win in 90 Minutes Odds:
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