Gareth Southgate admits England will face the “biggest test” of its World Cup ambitions once they face holders France in a blockbuster quarterfinal on Saturday.
Southgate’s facet recovered from a nervous begin earlier than powering to a 3-0 win in opposition to Senegal in Sunday’s final 16 conflict on the Al Bayt Stadium.
England will return to the Al Khor desert on the weekend for a titanic showdown with a France facet trying to turn out to be the primary staff to win successive World Cups since Brazil in 1958 and 1962.
Whereas England appeared spectacular as soon as Jordan Henderson put them forward in opposition to Senegal, with Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka additionally netting in opposition to the African champions, Southgate is aware of Didier Deschamps’ staff is a major step up in school.
“It is the biggest test we could face. They are world champions, with an incredible depth of talent and outstanding players. They are very hard to play against and score goals against,” Southgate mentioned.
“It is a fantastic challenge. It is a historic rivalry with great games from the past. It is a brilliant game for us to be involved in and test ourselves against the very best.”
‘Mbappe is a world class player’
Fuelled by Paris Saint Germain striker Kylian Mbappe, France beat Poland 3-1 within the final 16, simply hours earlier than England joined the Les Blues within the quarterfinals.
Mbappe struck twice in opposition to the Poles and already has 5 objectives on this 12 months’s event.
“Mbappe is of course a world class player. He has already delivered big moments in this tournament and in previous tournaments,” Southgate mentioned.
“Griezmann is also a phenomenal player, we know Giroud so well and they have outstanding midfield players as well. It is a huge test but one we are really looking forward to.”
England captain Harry Kane agreed with Southgate’s glowing evaluation of France, saying, “Saturday will be a really tough evening. France is a great team. They are the reigning champions.
“If you want to win the World Cup you have to play the best sides in the world and France is definitely one of them,” he added.
Though England has good cause to worry France, Southgate can counter by mentioning his staff’s good kind going into the match.
England has already scored 12 objectives in 4 matches on the Qatar World Cup, the nation’s joint-most at a single main event.
England midfielder Jude Bellingham competes for the management of the ball with Senegal’s Kalidou Koulibaly within the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Sunday evening at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar.
| Photograph Credit score: REUTERS
The important thing to England’s victory in opposition to Senegal was Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham.
Bellingham turned the primary teenager to register an help in a World Cup knockout match since 1966 when he laid on Henderson’s opener.
The 19-year-old was additionally concerned in Kane’s objective and proved the catalyst for England’s finest moments because it turned the tide following Senegal’s vivid begin.
Saluting Bellingham’s improvement simply two years after he was enjoying within the English second tier with Birmingham, Southgate mentioned: “I think the biggest thing is the mentality.
“We have done a lot of work with young players over the years but the thing that makes the difference, is the mindset, the drive, the desire to learn. He has all of that.
“I do not think we could predict how quickly he would mature. That is gone to another level in the last three months.
“We have wanted to invest in young players on the basis that they could be something special. You suffer a bit with that at first because they are not going to be perfect when they come in. Further down the line, you get these types of performances.”
Watching Tottenham striker Kane scored his first objective of the event was one other increase for Southgate.
“You could see the lift that gave Harry. His link play started to come together again,” he mentioned.
“For any striker when you have not scored it is in the back of your mind and when you get that goal it is a great lift of confidence. That will do him the world of good.”