England vs France prediction
Arguably the tie of the quarter-finals sees defending champions France take on Euro 2020 runners-up England at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
England reached the final eight comfortably despite not playing well since their opening 6-2 win versus Iran. Since then, a 0-0 with the USA, 3-0 over Wales and 3-0 over Senegal each saw Gareth Southgate’s side start slowly. Saturday will be their first real test in Qatar.
France were efficient in the group stage – coming from behind to hammer Australia 4-1, beating Denmark 2-1 and then rotating their squad before losing 0-1 to Tunisia. That means Didier Deschamps’ first team had only played twice before beating Poland 3-1 in their second round tie. The one should be said loosely as it was a very debatable penalty in stoppage time.
The Three Lions have had a few players coming back from injury and others who’d not played much coming into the tournament, but they mostly look match-ready. The concern for England fans should be that their defence hasn’t really been tested, and when they have they’ve looked poor. They gave up two goals versus Iran as well as a one-on-one. And Senegal had two excellent chances at 0-0, that you’d expect the likes of Kylian Mbappe or Olivier Giroud to convert.
As Mbappe showed versus Poland, you only need to give him half a yard and he can provide two moments out of magic that you couldn’t see coming. Up against Kyle Walker and potentially John Stones, England fans have every reason to be concerned. France also have Ousmane Dembele on the opposite flank, who’s looked a threat in each of his games. Giroud in the middle and Antoine Griezmann just behind. Theo Hernandez loves bombing forward from left-back too – the AC Milan full-back has an excellent cross and a good shot on him too.
I like England’s attack and Bukayo Saka should see some space down the right to cause a threat. But since the Iran game he hasn’t caused defences too many problems. Harry Kane finally scored in this tournament but the striker really can’t afford to be coming back to the halfway line to pick up the ball. England need goals in this game and that means they need a striker in the box. Phil Foden may be their best hope.
All-in-all I think the France attack have more success versus the England defence than the England attack does. And that points to a France win.
Best bet: France to qualify is 4/5 with BetFred