Sportsmail's form guide ahead of England's quarter-final with France

ENGLAND vs FRANCE FORM GUIDE: Kylian Mbappe and Jude Bellingham have been the stars of the World Cup, Phil Foden’s fluidity is valuable for the Three Lions while Hugo Lloris has struggled to impress

  • England play France on Saturday in the quarter-finals of the Qatar World Cup
  • The nations are arguably the two strongest teams left in the tournament
  • Kylian Mbappe and Jude Bellingham have been the leading stars so far in Qatar
  • Hugo Lloris hasn’t proven himself to be a formidable wall in goal for France
  • Click here to follow all the build-up and action as England takes on Les Bleus 

England face their biggest test at the World Cup as they face reigning champions France in a bid to reach the semi-finals in Qatar.

Both nations have cruised their way into the quarter-final stage, but Saturday’s match appears looks to be the biggest of the tournament yet, with some fans even describing it as a ‘final’ following Brazil’s shock exit to Croatia.

Looking back at the tournament, Sportsmail’s Alex McCarthy gives his verdict on those who have featured in the competition so far and which team has the higher rating.  

Reigning champions France are the narrow favourites going into the quarter-final with England

England though could cause the reigning champions some problems in the biggest game yet

GOALKEEPERS  

Jordan Pickford – 8

Three clean sheets in four outings can’t be knocked, but the most impressive spell of the tournament for Pickford was the first 30 minutes against Senegal in the last-16.

The Everton stopper made two crucial saves at 0-0 that gave England the platform to secure the victory. He will undoubtedly be called into action against France, but as far as a reflex shot-stopper goes, Pickford remains very dependable.

Hugo Lloris – 6

Les Blues are yet to have a clean sheet at the World Cup. Games against Denmark and Poland are always tricky, but Tunisia and Australia were definite underdogs against the French.

The Spurs stopper hasn’t made any glaring errors, but he hasn’t been a formidable wall either. Lloris has told the media he isn’t France’s weak link, but he’s no imperious force at this tournament.


Jordan Pickford has been very dependable while Hugo Lloris hasn’t been a formidable wall

DEFENDERS 

Kyle Walker – 7

The man everyone is betting on to stop Kylian Mbappe. Walker missed the first couple of games of the tournament as he recovered from surgery on his groin.

However, his outings against Wales and Senegal yielded a pair of clean sheets and he doesn’t look like he’s missed a step.

Kyle Walker will be given the unenviable task of stopping Kylian Mbappe in Saturday’s clash

Jules Kounde – 7

With Pavard failing to meet the standard against Australia, Kounde has been the man to benefit and he has not looked back.

The Barcelona defender gives the French great pace in the full-back positions opposite Theo Hernandez and that could be crucial in combating England’s dynamic wide-men.

John Stones – 8

Easily England’s best ball-playing defender, the Man City man has been the best defender in Qatar for passing accuracy (95 per cent from 382 passes), total ball carries (124) and total carry distance (1,288 metres). 

On top of that, he also ranks in the top four for pass success, touches, progressive carries and goal ending sequence involvement, according to Opta.

Stones has been responsible for getting England playing far more than people realise.

John  Stones (L) has been one of the defenders of the tournament while the much-maligned Manchester United outcast Harry Maguire has not put a foot wrong in England colours (R)

Raphael Varane – 7

The Manchester United man did not play in the opener, but he made a noticeable difference in the victories over Poland and Denmark. 

For all the talent France have, they do not have the same commanding, calm presence in the backline with Varane.

He did play just over an hour in the Tunisia slip-up, mind you.

Harry Maguire – 8

Yes, the much-maligned Man United outcast deserves some credit so few are willing to give. He’s barely put a foot wrong through four games for England, he’s passed forward with purpose and we’ve even seen some of his old marauding runs.

England found themselves up against it against U.S.A in their second game, but it was Maguire who stood firm and repelled a wave of corners with several key headers.

Dayot Upamecano – 7

Boss Didier Deschamps calls the RB Leipzig defender a ‘monster’ and he’s looked every bit the billing in Qatar.

Upamecano rarely loses an individual battle. He has pace, power and the aggressiveness to make life difficult for anyone. How will he fare when Harry Kane has his back to goal? He handled Robert Lewnadowski well.

Raphael Varane (L) has made a notable difference since he was brought into the starting fold while Dayot Upemecano has showed why Didier Deschamps described him as a ‘monster’

Luke Shaw – 7

An assist against Iran encompassed the best facets of the Man United’s full-backs game. In an England team that can turn pedestrian with sideways passing quickly, Shaw always tries to be progressive.

A difficult outing against the electric Ousmane Dembele awaits, but the 27-year-old has been a steady presence thus far.

Theo Hernandez – 7

He’s only come into the team because his brother, Lucas, suffered a tournament-ending injury. 

However, Theo has shown he can give France the perfect support for Mbappe down the left with his searing pace.

His overlapping runs have created more space for Mbappe to operate and do what he does best. Hernandez had the most touches of anyone against Poland and has created eight chances from open play, only behind Griezmann and Dembele.

MIDFIELDERS 

Jordan Henderson – 8

The 32-year-old deserves great credit for how he has dealt with being both a member of the supporting cast, and a guaranteed starter for England at different stages in Qatar.

From off the bench, Henderson has exuded energy, enthusiasm and leadership. Not every player accepts new roles in the winter of their careers with such application and greater-good-attitude. His display against Wales, followed by his goal and performance against Senegal has now made him undroppable.

Jordan Henderson is now undroppable after starting the tournament from the bench

Antoine Griezmann – 8

The Atletico Madrid forward looks like he’s been shoe-horned into the side as a number 10 to fit both Oivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe in, but it’s proving to be a masterstroke as Griezmann has become France’s chief creator.

He has created 15 chances in just four games. Griezmann drifts into pockets and uses his deft touch to engineer the openings for the searing pace around him. It’s proving to be a deadly combo thus far.

Declan Rice – 7

The West Ham man seemingly destined for a big time move has been the heartbeat of the England team trying to collect the ball off the back four.

The 23-year-old’s best work is always off the ball; his athleticism and size eats up the ground as he hunts down opponents at a frightening rate. His penchant to pass sideways can still frustrate, though.

Aurelien Tchouameni – 8

Aurelien Tchouameni was a name that was floating around Europe prior to his move to Real Madrid, but few realised just how good the 22-year-old really is. There’s a reason Real was OK with letting Casemiro go.

He has dominated in the middle of the park with his expert breaking of the play and smart, enterprising play with the ball. He quickly asserted himself as a must start for one of the biggest clubs in the world and a heavyweight country, too.

Aurelien Tchouameni has showed why Real Madrid were happy to let Casemiro leave the club

Jude Bellingham – 9

The star of the World Cup thus far. The 19-year-old has shown he can play at the top level for a couple of years now with stellar displays in the Champions League and now he has transferred that to the biggest stage.

A goal against Iran and was followed by a frustrating, below-par outing against the U.S. Despite suggestions Southgate would drop him, Bellingham recovered against Wales and produced an inspired display against Senegal starting the play for Harry Kane’s goal and directly assisting Jordan Henderson for his. 

His teenage fearlessness could be the key to England’s approach against the very best.

Jude Bellingham has been the star of the World Cup and is crucial for England’s chances

Adrien Rabiot – 8

Without Paul Pogba to orchestrate, Rabiot is finally realising the potential many thought he had wasted.

Only Aurelien Tchouameni has played more minutes for Les Blues at this World Cup than Rabiot. His elegance on the ball and dynamic runs off of it have been the perfect tonic to the incredible speed that flanks him. He will dictate the game against England if he is allowed to.

Adrien Rabiot is finally realising the potential that many people had thought he had wasted

FORWARDS

Phil Foden – 7

England fans couldn’t believe Gareth Southgate would let the game against the USA elapse without bringing on the quality of Phil Foden to unlock some doors, but that’s exactly what the Three Lions manager has done since then.

An assist for Kane to open his World Cup account against Senegal made a statement, but the fluidity and guile Foden shows is perhaps most valuable to England. 

The 22-year-old has the technical skill to hang with any nation in the world and where England sometimes fail to dictate knock-out games, Foden is someone the team can always trust giving the ball to.

Phil Foden has shown his quality even if he hasn’t always got the game-time fans hope for

Ousmane Dembele – 8

It wasn’t long ago people were talking about Dembele as a Barcelona flop, but in the last six months, we’ve begun to see why he commanded a £120million fee just a few years ago.

Still only 25, Dembele’s direct dribbling at frightening pace have lit up this World Cup. Even Kyle Walker has been left in his dust before.

He has created nine chances in four games and if England concentrate too much on Mbappe, Dembele will punish them.

Harry Kane – 7.5

England’s talisman is just one goal away from equalling Wayne Rooney’s all-time England goalscoring record. 

His goal against Senegal, which was also his first of the tournament, brought him one step closer.

With the burden of scoring off his back, the Spurs legend will likely play with a subtle sense of freedom against the French, but he’s been playing well without scoring in Qatar – with the universal exception of the U.S.A game. 

Kane’s connecting of the play has unleashed the wide-men that play off him and England are an exciting prospect with that mix. Without Kane, it’s not the same.

Harry Kane scored his first goal of the tournament in England’s last-16 victory over Senegal

Olivier Giroud – 9

At 36-years-old, the veteran striker continues to defy father time. His late-career form has seen him officially overtake Thierry Henry as France’s all-time goalscorer and with the supporting cast he has, it’s no wonder.

Giroud has three goals in Qatar and while Harry Maguire might fancy himself in a physical duel with the former Arsenal and Chelsea man, Giroud is much more than hold-up play and headers. 

He has been a poacher and link-man in France’s diverse attacking line that features the pace of Mbappe and Demebele combined with the touch and creativity of Griezmann. A deadly cocktail that Giroud has given balance.

Olivier Giroud has three goals in France and has become France’s all-time leading scorer

Bukayo Saka – 8

There was plenty of debate around England’s front-three before the tournament began, but the Arsenal winger has shown he can replicate his fine club form on the biggest stage and cannot be sat on the bench.

Three goals in Qatar, including a brace in the opener against Iran, have showed what a different dynamic he offers England cutting in from the right. He’s also prepared to put in the hard yards defensively, something that could be crucial on a flank Mbappe operates.

Kylian Mbappe – 9.5

What a force of nature. If there is anyone in the world who can totally nullify the 23-year-old (he turns 24 in 10 days time), we’re yet to see it. The PSG forward has five goals in four games and is leading the Golden Boot charts.

The fact that Mbappe looks happy in this French squad is the key difference maker.

Not many would question that France have the best player in the world in Kylian Mbappe

He likes Olivier Giroud dealing with the physicality through the middle, he’s kiss and made up with Rabiot after years of dislike and away from the PSG drama, Mbappe appears in his element. 

France have the best player in the world, not many people would question that right now.

ENGLAND TOTAL – 84.5

FRANCE TOTAL – 84.5  

ENGLAND’S SUBSTITUTES

Kieran Trippier – 6

England almost universally played well in the 6-2 destruction of Iran and Tripper can include himself in that sweeping acclaim.

However, the set-piece specialist wasn’t at his best against the States and gave the ball away far too cheaply. He has since been replaced as a starter by Walker.

Eric Dier – 5

The Tottenham man, re-born at centre-half under Antonio Conte, has come off the bench twice in Qatar for a total of 36 minutes of action.

The games were already won when he came on against Iran and Senegal and he had fairly nondescript displays, although England did go on to concede a late goal against the former with him on the pitch.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6

The Liverpool defender got the final 34 minutes against Wales and showcased all the best parts of his game with crisp, incisive passing from right-back.He was even stout in defence and made a couple of notable interceptions. It was too small a sample size to silence long-standing critics, but a decent cameo regardless.

Raheem Sterling – 6

The 81-cap winger had a promising start to the tournament, but he hasn’t been seen since a poor display against the U.S. in England’s second game.

Calls for Phil Foden to play and his former teammate’s subsequent excellent outings have seen Sterling dislodged from his previously undroppable slot. He also had to fly home following the Senegal game to tend to his family after their house was burgled, so a start against France appears unlikely.

Raheem Sterling has been dislodged from his undroppable slot by Phil Foden for England

Kalvin Phillips – 5

The Man City man has barely played any football this season, but he has made two appearances off the bench for England totalling 42 minutes at this World Cup.

The rise of Jude Bellingham means Phillips’ Euro 2020 partnership with Declan Rice is unlikely to be resurrected full-time, but Phillips has shown he can be a robust option from the bench.

Mason Mount – 6

It hasn’t quite worked for Mount at the World Cup thus far. We all know the qualities he possesses and the industry that Southgate values, but with options like Bellingham and Foden ready to operate in that number 10 spot, competition is fierce.

Bellingham played in the 10 against Senegal with Henderson restored and it seems unlikely that Southgate will toy with that, nor should he.

Jack Grealish – 6.5

A goal against Iran was some tangible end product that the Man City man’s detractors usually cite as lacking, but Grealish hasn’t been able to get into the swing of things in Qatar yet.He has appeared in every game, but only for a total of 85 minutes as Southgate continues to use him as something different from the bench.

Marcus Rashford – 8

A goal almost instantly off the bench against Iran and then a brace against Wales was the keys to England sailing through the group stages and bringing the Manchester United man in from the proverbial cold.

Rashford is reminding us of the teenager that electrified Old Trafford and made Europe stand up and take notice. With his injury issues seemingly behind him, England have welcome a lethal injection back into their arsenal.

Marcus Rashford has scored three goals in Qatar despite only starting on one occasion

Callum Wilson – 7

Yes, the Newcastle striker’s fitness problems are well documented and the fact he has picked up a knock in Qatar is disappointing, but he has been impressive when he has played.Wilson set up Rashford against Iran when he could have gone alone and his pace in behind is a different option to that of Kane.

FRANCE’S SUBSTITUTES 

Steve Mandanda – 6

With six points after two games, France knew they were through and shuffled their pack. 

That meant Mandanda coming in for Lloris. The veteran oversaw a 1-0 loss to Tunisia, but even if he had an all-time performance, he was never going to dislodge Lloris from the number one spot.

Benjamin Pavard – 5

The Bayern Munich man – scorer of one of the all-time great cut volleys at a World Cup – played 88 minutes in France’s opener against Australia and hasn’t been seen since.

He’s been dropped for ‘sporting reasons’ according to assistant manager Guy Stephan, but reports circulated that the squad were divided on whether he was good enough to play after a poor display against the Aussies. Ouch.

Benjamin Pavard was dropped from France’s starting line-up due to ‘sporting reasons’

Lucas Hernandez – N/A

He only played 18 minutes in their opener against Australia before suffering a knee injury.

William Saliba – 5

Impossible to give the Arsenal man a fair rating as he’s only 28 minutes at the World Cup. Out of the fit outfield players, Saliba has played the least of them all.

Ibrahima Konate – 6

Liverpool’s Konate started the opener against Australia, but Varane has been an automatic in his spot since.

He also played the full-game in the Tunisia loss, but he hasn’t done much wrong. Varane and Upamecano are the likely starting centre-backs against England.

Ibrahima Konate hasn’t done much wrong when called upon by France so far this World Cup

Axel Disasi – 6

The Monaco defender was uncapped before this World Cup, but he played the 90 minutes against Tunisia – which weren’t a great endorsement – and a solitary minute against Poland.

He looked uncomfortable in the Tunisia game, but that was a dis-jointed France side and not a fair reflection on him. His fine form at Monaco is a far better indicator of the 24-year-old’s promise.

Jordan Veretout – 5

After an unsuccessful spell at Aston Villa, it’s hard to believe this is the same midfielder who has played for Roma, now plays for Marseille and has worked his way into the French team.He’s only seen just over an hour or action in this tournament and that was in the Tunisia loss.

Youssouf Fofana – 6.5

The 23-year-old is another Monaco standout and discounting the much-changed Tunisia loss where he started, he has come off the bench in the other three games.

Deschamps clearly likes the energy that Fofana brings to the table and while not as polished as a Camavinga or Rabiot, he presses the ball well and keeps it moving.

Eduardo Camavinga – 5

What a strange World Cup for the Real Madrid man. Fofana has been preferred to him as Deschamps go-to midfield substitute with Camavinga’s only tournament minutes coming as a left-back in the Tunisia loss – which I’m not trying to mention in every rating!

Although he got better as the game went on, the first-half was a real struggle for the 20-year-old and it’s probably not a good idea to make left-back a habit for him.

Eduardo Camavinga struggled as a left-back in France’s stunning defeat to Tunisia

Matteo Guendouzi – 5

He played 78 minutes against Tunisia and was basically a right winger. Predictably, it did not work out.

Marcus Thuram – 6

Italian-born Thuram is a powerful force in midfield. He has played 45 minutes of tournament football thus far across three games and he’s yet to have the chance to assert himself on a game.

Kingley Coman – 6

Coman, another electric wide-man France have at their disposal, played just over an hour against Tunisia, but has been restricted to 15 minute cameos in his other three appearances.

As a tiring full-back, Coman is the last man you want to see coming off the bench in the dying embers. That’s exactly how England are likely to face him.

Randal Kolo Muani – 6

A late call-up to a France squad littered with injuries, the 24-year-old has only appeared in the now infamous loss to Tunisia.

A pacey option from the bench, we’re unlikely to see Kolo Muani unless France are in dire need of a goal. Thus far, Deschamps has resisted using him in games that matter.




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