England vs France LIVE: World Cup 2022 starting line-up and team news as England unchanged for quarter-final

England play France in a huge World Cup quarter-final in Qatar tonight. The Three Lions face their toughest test of the tournament so far against the defending champions France after topping Group B and defeating Senegal in the last 16 to reach this stage.

Gareth Southgate has named an unchanged team for England’s first ever match against France in the knockout stages of a major international tournament, which sees Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden retain their places in a 4-3-3 system.

The England manager has urged his team to be bold and attack France, who have in Kylian Mbappe this World Cup’s leading goalscorer and perhaps the most dangerous forward in football.

England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia in 2018 but Southgate believes his team are better prepared for success now than four years ago. With millions around the country set to tune in, this could be the night that makes or breaks those hopes.

Follow live build-up to England vs France, as well as all the latest team news and updates, in our live blog below

England vs France latest updates

  • England face France in the World Cup 2022 quarter-finals with kick-off in Qatar at 7pm GMT

  • Match is live on ITV 1 as England look to return to World Cup semi-finals against the holders

  • TEAM NEWS: Gareth Southgate names unchanged team from Senegal win as England line-up in 4-3-3

  • Miguel Delaney: England calm and confident ahead of biggest test of Gareth Southgate era

  • Mark Critchley: So, how do England stop Kylian Mbappe?

  • Richard Jolly: Deschamps and Southgate share many similarities - but not yet success

Bellingham breaking records

18:46 , Michael Jones

Jude Bellingham is the youngest player to start a World Cup quarter-final for England (19 years, 164 days) - the previous youngest was Wayne Rooney vs Portugal in 2006 (20 years, 250 days).

Can he become the youngest English player to reach the semi-finals?

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World Cup 2022: England vs France

18:43 , Michael Jones

Harry Kane captains England for an 11th time at the World Cup finals, a new record for the men’s side. He’s also just one goal behind Wayne Rooney’s England record of 53.

Tonight would be the ideal time for him to break that record.

Lloris on Kane

18:40 , Michael Jones

France captain, Hugo Lloris, was asked whether his team would be able to handle his Tottenham team mate Harry Kane when they come up against each other tonight.

“I only have positive things to say. He’s a very important player for the club and indeed for the England team as well.” said Lloris, “He’s a real leader, an example for his team-mates and he is a top player. He’s been decisive for his club and very often he makes the difference.

“Harry is known all over the world so I can’t really add much. But he’ll be an opponent. We’ll both be representing our countries so our focus will be on that.

“You know better than me that Harry has the ability to shoot anywhere. He’s one of the best probably at this aspect of the game.

“Obviously for Harry or the other English players, they will be analysing their penalties. Then, it is all about feeling, all about instinct that you get during the match.

“Before you get to a penalty shootout, it is the time to make the difference on the pitch. We’ll see. Anything can become decisive in what will be a big game.

“We have to be ready for every scenario.”

England calm and confident ahead of biggest test of Gareth Southgate era

18:36 , Michael Jones

It speaks to Gareth Southgate’s confidence in this England team that he had decided his formation and starting XI for the France match on Monday morning. While so many others around the squad were worrying about Kylian Mbappe, and wondering whether Southgate would agonise over a big choice on how to approach him, the manager had already long made up his mind.

That came after a 9am presentation on France from FA head of coaching Steve Dittmer that just confirmed what the England manager was already thinking. Southgate is now so confident in his team that he doesn’t feel they need to compromise for a player like Mbappe in the way he used to.

That has only helped to focus the work of the week. The key for the coaches since then, and especially in the day before the game, has been to distil all crucial points to messages the players can easily digest.

England calm and confident ahead of biggest test of Gareth Southgate era

Southgate on Pickford

18:32 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate spoke about how important Jordan Pickford has been for England and how important he will be going forward saying: “What is the stand-out thing is that he’s handled being the England number one really well.

“It’s not an easy role to have, there’s a lot of focus on it, a lot of spotlight. There have been credible alternatives at certain times that put that position under pressure but he’s maintained a really high level of performance for us right through that period.

“It’s a fantastic individual achievement,” he added. “There’s still only a low number of players that get to 50 caps and to do that you’ve got to have a decent period of time as an England international.

“For them it’s important and that experience for us, you do go through different experiences that England nights and tournaments bring.”

World Cup 2022: England vs France

18:29 , Michael Jones

Les Bleus got a warm reception as they jogged out to warm-up. Kylian Mbappe got the loudest roar when he emerged from the tunnel.

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(REUTERS)
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So, how do England stop Kylian Mbappe?

18:26 , Michael Jones

You would be forgiven for thinking that England only have to come up against one player on Saturday. And yet even if that were the case, we would still be talking about quite the player. Kylian Mbappé has almost been the sole focus of the build-up to this World Cup quarter-final against France, as this tournament’s top scorer puts forward a compelling case to be the best in the world.

There is every chance that somebody else makes the difference at the Al Bayt. As several England squad members have been at pains to point out this week, the reigning world champions are hardly a one-man team. There is also the enduring quality of Antoine Griezmann, a rejuvenated Ousmane Dembele, not to mention France’s record goalscorer Olivier Giroud. Who knows, maybe even an England player could be the matchwinner.

But sometimes, the most important individual battle is also the most obvious one. Take this year’s Champions League final, for example. The contest between Vinicius Jr and Trent Alexander-Arnold was highlighted by just about everybody as where the game would be won and lost. Lo and behold, Real Madrid’s winning goal – the only goal – was scored by Vinicius, stealing in at the far post after Alexander-Arnold had lost track of his run.

So, how do England stop Kylian Mbappe?

Gareth Southgate on the threat posed by Kylian Mbappe

18:23 , Michael Jones

The England boss spoke to ITV before kick off and addressed how the Three Lions will take on Kylian Mbappe.

“It’s the same way that we prepare for every team.” he said, “You’re looking at all the patterns of how they play, the individuals within the team. Are there specifics that need to be highlighted?

“As much as we might highlight Mbappe, we’ve got to pay due attention to Olivier Giroud and how he gets his goals, and Antoine Griezmann has played over 70 consecutive games for France. There’s a clue there in how important he is to them, I think he’s a phenomenal player.

“So if we don’t go into the detail and the specifics for those particular players in a game at this level then you’re not doing your due diligence really.”

World Cup 2022: England vs France

18:18 , Michael Jones

The fans are enjoying themselves ahead of kick off. The players have just come out for the warm-ups and there are loud cheers for them already.

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(REUTERS)
 (PA)
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World Cup 2022: England vs France

18:15 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate speaks to the media ahead of kick off. He sounds confident enough here. Can England show that confidence on the pitch?

World Cup 2022: England vs France

18:12 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate defends England tactics and details how to stop Kylian Mbappe

18:08 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate has bullishly defended his tactical approach, saying his job is “to win football matches” and “not just have a philosophy”.

The debate around England’s attack has formed one of the main remaining criticisms of the manager, with Southgate commonly perceived as lacking a big idea compared to other major nations.

In what could be construed as a pointed line about Spain and Germany’s World Cup campaigns though, Southgate said: “If you’re going home at the start of the tournament then the philosophy doesn’t wash”.

The England boss also said that, contrary to perceptions, he would rather not play a three-man centre-half line.

Gareth Southgate defends tactics and details how England can stop Kylian Mbappe

France’s title defence

18:04 , Michael Jones

France are the reigning world champions. No team that won the previous tournament has reached the semi-finals of the following competition this century.

Will France be the first side to do so or can England knock them out tonight?

Sterling back in England squad

18:01 , Michael Jones

Raheem Sterling has returned to Qatar after flying home last week to make sure his family were alright following a robbery at his home just before the Senegal game.

He’s inclusion in the squad gives Gareth Southgate another option off the bench and it’s a sign of confidence in the team that Sterling wanted to return to Qatar so quickly.

“I haven’t had chance to sit with him yet,” said Southgate.

“We’ve spoken on the phone and I think he’s in a better place in that he feels he can come back in and has had the time he needs to help his family. Whether he’s going to have done enough to be involved in the game is a different matter.

“He’s had two long flights and missed a lot of training with the team - we’re going into the level of game where you need to be fully on it.

“It’s great that we’ve got the option of having him back with us, that he’s back with the group, but in terms of involvement for this game, that’s a bit more complicated.”

Can Southgate silence the doubters?

17:58 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate began his reign as England manager in October 2016 and has won 49 of his 80 games in charge with just 13 defeats.

But, high profile losses to Croatia in the last four of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 final, have led to questions about Southgate’s ability to get the most out of his talented squad.

Can he put them to bed by beating France tonight?

‘Southgate doesn’t get the credit he deserves'

17:55 , Michael Jones

England midfielder Kalvin Phillips spoke about how he believes that manager Gareth Southgate is not given enough credit for the job he has done with the Three Lions during his time in charge.

It’s a subject that will come up again if England lose tonight’s match but Phillips has already given his opinion saying: “I think people underestimate how good a manager Gareth Southgate is.

“I have been with England for three years and he has been amazing. We didn’t have good results in the summer but you can put that down to a few reasons.

“How he has nurtured this team to winning games and one of the best countries in the world at playing football. A lot of people don’t give him credit for that.

“He has got very tough decisions to make. He has unbelievable players that he has to leave on the bench.

“I understand it is a very hard position he is in, but he has been unbelievable since I’ve been with England. He is an unbelievable man-manager.”

England name unchanged team for World Cup quarter-final against France

17:51 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate named an unchanged England team for the World Cup quarter-final with France football.

The England boss sticks with the 4-3-3 shape that has got his team this far with Jordan Henderson, Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden again getting the nod as they did for the last-16 win over Senegal.

Kyle Walker, who is set to match up against danger man Kylian Mbappe, and Luke Shaw start in the full-back positions with Harry Maguire and John Stones again paired in the centre of defence.

England name unchanged team for World Cup quarter-final against France

‘We are ready to fight'

17:47 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate led England to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018 before his team were beaten in the final of Euro 2020 by Italy.

The England boss says those experiences are helping to develop his squad and give them the knowledge and mental fortitude to get through big games like tonight’s quarter-final against France.

"In terms of our experiences, those big matches are important reference points for the team," said Southgate yesterday.

"There have been some defeats that hurt that prepare you for nights like tomorrow, where you have to be the very best version of yourself.

“We are ready to fight France for that place in the semi-finals."

France’s line-up

17:43 , Michael Jones

Didier Deschamps also names an unchanged team as expected. Here’s how France line-up against England:

France XI: Lloris; Kounde, Upamecano, Varane, Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud

England's line-up

17:41 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate has named an unchanged team to the one that defeated Senegal last time out.

That means a back four of Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw whilst Jordan Henderson keeps his place in midfield. Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka start alongside Harry Kane in the front three.

England XI: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Henderson, Rice, Bellingham; Saka, Kane, Foden.

World Cup 2022: England vs France

17:40 , Ben Burrows

England are looking to reach the semi-final stage at a third successive major tournament in what Southgate this week called England’s “acid test” against the reigning champions.

He believes France are the “very best” in Qatar and staff stepped up preparations with a detailed presentation on their opponents at 9am on Monday - just six hours after getting back from the Senegal match.

External debate over selection and set-up has rumbled ever since the last-16 triumph, but the approach has long since been settled upon.

“We decided on Monday,” Southgate said. “We’d already watched by Monday night all the games of France, we’d already reviewed our game from Senegal.

“So, we’re very clear on the right path because then you’ve got to deliver that through the week. We’re comfortable with where we’re at.”

Who will England play next if they beat France? Route to the World Cup final

17:36 , Michael Jones

Gareth Southgate’s England squad will be hoping to make it back-to-back finals in major international competitions - and this time go one step better and lift the trophy.

Four years ago the Three Lions reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup as the upturn in international fortunes began under Southgate, before they went the distance to the final at Euro 2020. Now, in Qatar, the objective remains the same, to end the long wait since 1966 for success on the biggest stage.

Three matches in the group phase were safely negotiated as they topped Group B before Senegal were brushed aside 3-0 in the last 16. France are next up in the quarter-finals on Saturday as they are just three knock-out victories away from lifting the trophy on 18 December at the 80,000-seater Lusail Stadium.

Who will England play in the World Cup semi-final if they win today?

World Cup 2022: England vs France

17:32 , Michael Jones

The winner of this fixture now knows that they will face Morocco in the semi-finals. That’s the reward for getting through such a difficult test in the quarter-finals.

One of these big European nations will be going home tonight but will it be France or will it be England?

World Cup 2022: England vs France

17:28 , Jamie Braidwood

Gareth Southgate says England are better prepared for World Cup success than four years ago and ready to “nail” holders France in Saturday’s blockbuster quarter-final.

The biggest thing for me in the game is going to be our mentality,” the England manager said. “We’ll of course be tactically prepared.

“But on these nights you’ve got to have men that stand up and take on the challenge. That’s the bit that we’ve got to prove to people.

“We’ve had some outstanding nights and the next game is always the most important. It’s against a good level of opponent, one we’re ready for. One, if you’d asked me four years ago were we quite ready, I’m not sure.

“Now I feel differently about that, and that’s because we’ve got evidence over a long period of results.

“Historically we have always talked well, but the evidence wasn’t there. Now we’ve got more evidence and we’ve got to go and nail this type of game now.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

World Cup 2022: England vs France

17:15 , Jamie Braidwood

England calm and confident ahead of biggest test of Gareth Southgate era

It speaks to Gareth Southgate’s confidence in this England team that he had decided his formation and starting XI for the France match on Monday morning. While so many others around the squad were worrying about Kylian Mbappe, and wondering whether Southgate would agonise over a big choice on how to approach him, the manager had already long made up his mind.

That came after a 9am presentation on France from FA head of coaching Steve Dittmer that just confirmed what the England manager was already thinking. Southgate is now so confident in his team that he doesn’t feel they need to compromise for a player like Mbappe in the way he used to.

That has only helped to focus the work of the week. The key for the coaches since then, and especially in the day before the game, has been to distil all crucial points to messages the players can easily digest.

Assistant Steve Holland says that the challenge is that the players are so full of confidence that “when they’re walking out of the tunnel on match day they’ve been through a foundation and a process they believe has got a chance”.

The England squad believe they’ve got much more than a chance. The view within the camp - from players to staff - is that they’ve never been in as good a place going into such a game in terms of form, mentality and experience.

England vs France: Big game preview by Miguel Delaney

England calm and confident ahead of biggest test of Gareth Southgate era

World Cup 2022: England vs France

17:04 , Ben Burrows

Meanwhile in today’s other quarter-final, Morocco have stunned Portugal to become the first African side in history to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Youssef El-Nesyri headed in just before half-time to score what would prove the winner in a famous 1-0 victory.

The Atlas Lions emerged winners from a group containing Belgium, Croatia and Canada before knocking Spain out in a penalty shootout in the last-16.

They will now face England or France in the last four.

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(Getty Images)

World Cup 2022: England vs France

17:00 , Jamie Braidwood

When is England vs France?

The match is scheduled to kick off at 7pm GMT (10pm local time) on Saturday 10 December.

The fixture is set to take place at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.

How can I watch it?

England vs France will air live on ITV 1 in the UK, and it will stream live on the broadcaster’s ITVX website and app.

World Cup 2022: England vs France

16:45 , Jamie Braidwood

5 memorable meetings between England and France

  • France 3 England 2 (June 13, 2017)

Five years ago, the sides met in a season-ending friendly at Stade de France. Then, as now, Didier Deshcamps and Gareth Southgate were the men in the dugout and it was the Frenchman who came out on top.

Harry Kane nabbed an early goal but Les Bleus rallied to go in ahead at half-time.

A red card for Raphael Varane at the start of the second period should have changed things but, despite Kane’s equaliser from the penalty spot, Ousmane Dembele sealed the win.

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(Getty Images)

World Cup 2022: England vs France

16:30 , Jamie Braidwood

5 memorable meetings between England and France

  • England 1 France 1 (June 11, 2012)

Roy Hodgson’s hasty elevation to the top of the English game following Fabio Capello’s departure tempered expectations in the build-up to Euro 2012, which started against France.

Joleon Lescott’s header on the half-hour raised hopes but Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri hit back before half-time as both sides banked a point on their way to the quarter-finals.

World Cup 2022: England vs France

16:15 , Jamie Braidwood

5 memorable meetings between England and France

  • France 2 England 1 (June 13, 2004)

One of the most galling defeats of the Sven-Goran Eriksson era, as his star-studded side came within a whisker of knocking off the reigning champions in the group stage of Euro 2004.

Frank Lampard’s 38th-minute header put England in front but David Beckham had a penalty saved by Fabien Barthez. Zinedine Zidane showed the coolest head of all as the closing moments arrived, curling home a last-gasp free-kick, then converting from the penalty spot after David James fouled Thierry Henry.

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(Getty Images)

World Cup 2022: England vs France

16:01 , Jamie Braidwood

5 memorable meetings between England and France

  • England 3 France 1 (June 16, 1982)

The old foes were back together in the World Cup in Spain, with Ron Greenwood’s England comfortably coming through as they topped Group 4.

The game is best remembered for Bryan Robson’s goal after 27 seconds, his country’s quickest ever at a World Cup, but the midfielder also put his side ahead for a second time before Paul Mariner made it safe.

World Cup 2022: England vs France

15:45 , Jamie Braidwood

5 memorable meetings between England and France

  • England 2 France 0 (July 20, 1966)

Sir Alf Ramsey’s men won the final game of the group stage to finish a point above Uruguay and set up their route to glory.

Roger Hunt scored in each half to keep 98,000 fans at Wembley happy and pairing the hosts with Argentina in the quarter-finals rather than West Germany. The rest is history.

World Cup 2022: England vs France

15:30 , Jamie Braidwood

Gareth Southgate believes England are better prepared for World Cup success than four years ago and says mentality will be key in Saturday’s blockbuster quarter-final clash against holders France.

“But on these nights you’ve got to have men that stand up and take on the challenge. That’s the bit that we’ve got to prove to people.

“We’ve had some outstanding nights and the next game is always the most important. It’s against a good level of opponent, one we’re ready for. One, if you’d asked me four years ago were we quite ready, I’m not sure.

“Now I feel differently about that, and that’s because we’ve got evidence over a long period of results.

“Historically we have always talked well, but the evidence wasn’t there. Now we’ve got more evidence and we’ve got to go and nail this type of game now.”

World Cup 2022: England vs France

15:15 , Jamie Braidwood

Gareth Southgate says mentality is key as England prepare to fight reigning World Cup winners France for a semi-final spot at a third successive major tournament.

“In terms of our experiences, I think those big matches for the team are important reference points, really,” the England boss said. “They’ve had to come through many different ways of winning games.

“Some defeats that have hurt but we’ve learned a lot from and I think they prepare you for nights like tomorrow, where you’ve got to produce the very best version of yourselves.

“The mentality is key, really. There’s the belief and the mentality that we deserve to be there and we’re ready to fight France for that place in the semi-final.”

Gareth Southgate stresses importance of England’s ‘mentality’ against France

World Cup 2022: England vs France

15:01 , Jamie Braidwood

Midfielder Adrien Rabiot insists France are not dependent on Kylian Mbappe for success at the World Cup.

Didier Deschamps’ defending champions face England in the quarter-finals on Saturday and in Mbappe they have the tournament’s leading scorer with five goals in four matches.

However, they also have the joint second-highest scorer in Olivier Giroud, with three, and Rabiot stressed they are not a one-man team.

“There is no dependency. It is our main weapon but we also have other players who can make a difference in other ways,” the Juventus midfielder said.

“We count on him as on all the players in the group. Everyone needs to be in good health to face England.

“Kylian is impressive and from year to year he evolves and becomes even better. I don’t know where it will stop. We are lucky to have him in our team and not against us.”

14:46 , Jamie Braidwood

Kyle Walker is likely to be the man tasked with keeping Kylian Mbappe quiet at Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday evening and has previous, having come up against the Paris Saint-Germain forward four times in the Champions League.

“Obviously it’s going to help because I’ve played against him a number of times now with Manchester City against PSG,” Walker said on his battle with Mbappe.

“He’s a fantastic player, in great form. It’s not going to be an easy task. As a professional footballer you want to play against the best and he’s one of the best, if not the best, in the world at the minute.

“Do I understand the focus? Of course I do. I do understand what I need to do and that’s obviously to stop him. It’s probably easier said than done but I don’t underestimate myself. I’ve played him before and I’ve come up against great players before in my time playing with England, Man City and other clubs I’ve played for.

“I have to treat it as another game. I have to take extra care and give him the respect he deserves but not too much respect because he’s also playing England and we can also cause them problems. It’s going to be a tough game but not one player makes a team.

“The game is not England v Mbappe. The game is England v France. We take respect that he’s a good player and in good form at the minute but I’m not going to roll out the red carpet for him and tell him to go and score.

“I’m representing my country at a quarter-final of a World Cup. It’s do or die really. If we lose we go home. He’s not going to stand in my way and hopefully winning a World Cup for my country.”

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(Getty Images)

World Cup 2022: England vs France

14:30 , Jamie Braidwood

Kyle Walker insists England will not be rolling out the red carpet for France’s great entertainers in Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final clash.

“We take our hats off to them, they are world champions, they have the respect they deserve,” Walker said of France.

“They won the last World Cup. But I can assure you that each and every one of us will not be rolling out red carpet for them to go and perform, thinking it’s a theatre for them to showcase their great talent.

“We have also got great talent that we need to be speaking about as well. The goals we have scored, the clean sheets we have kept. We just move forward with that.

“To play in a quarter-final of a World Cup is always going to be special. It’s always going to be a bit more special when it’s against France, the reigning world champions. It’s going to be a very tough game which we know and one we are waiting on with excitement.”

World Cup 2022: England vs France

14:15 , Jamie Braidwood

England are expected to name an unchanged team against France, with Gareth Southgate set to select a 4-3-3 formation despite the threat posed by Kylian Mbappe.

That means Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden will start either side of Harry Kane, with Jordan Henderson once again joining Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice in midfield.

Kyle Walker will face the biggest match of his career against Mbappe at right back, with John Stones, Henderson and Saka all set to offer support.

Raheem Sterling will be involved after returning to training on Friday, although the forward remains short of preparation time after flying back to the UK this week, while Callum Wilson has shaken off an injury niggle.

England vs France team news and predicted line-ups ahead of World Cup quarter-final

World Cup 2022: England vs France

14:01 , Jamie Braidwood

England have reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar as hope builds that Gareth Southgate’s side can go further than they did in Russia four years ago.

Key to that will be Saturday’s crunch clash with defending champions France in the last eight, with Kylian Mbappe set to provide England their biggest test of the World Cup so far after his five goals in four games.

Amid a chaotic group stage in Qatar, England’s progress to a last-16 meeting with Senegal was relatively straightforward. Despite being booed off following a 0-0 draw with the USA, England topped Group B thanks to convincing victories over Iran and Wales. From there, England overcame an uncertain start to sweep Senegal aside and book their place in the quarter-finals.

England have so far used 20 players during their World Cup campaign and throughout the tournament, The Independent has been recording their performances in our player ratings. Players are given a score between 0 and 10 based on their display within the match. As a guide, players begin the match as a 5 and are then scored up or down accordingly. While this process is of course subjective, it means a 6 should be viewed as a good score!

Ahead of the quarter-finals, we have collated the ratings England’s players have received through their first four games. So, who’s standing out and who’s struggling to make the grade? Here’s how England’s players have rated at the World Cup so far:

How have England’s players rated at the World Cup so far?

World Cup 2022: England vs France

13:46 , Jamie Braidwood

Jude Bellingham’s midfield battle with Aurelien Tchouameni will be crucial when England take on reigning champions France in their World Cup quarter-final on Saturday.

Here, we have a look at one of the key match-ups.

The battle that will decide England vs France in World Cup quarter-final

World Cup 2022: England vs France

13:30 , Jamie Braidwood

‘I always knew I’d find form’: Harry Maguire repays Gareth Southgate’s faith with exemplary World Cup displays

To ward off the monotony that can build between games during the long weeks away at a major tournament, England’s players have been passing the time by trying their hand at Werewolf.

A murder strategy game based on lies and deception, those chosen as “wolves” have to kill off as many “villagers” as possible while the villagers have to detect and identify the wolves. One member of the squad has stood head and shoulders above the rest, revealing himself as something of a super sleuth. “I’m quite good at psychology, to be honest,” admits Harry Maguire. “I’ve needed to be over the last year or so.”

While Maguire puts his Werewolf prowess partly down to an analytical mind, it is mostly due to past experience. “I’ve played it before as well, I must say. When I was at Leicester, we played the game a lot and the more you play the game the more you see. You get to look at what people are doing, how they’re acting.”

And the England defender has found those to be transferable skills, if not on the pitch then certainly off it. “I think especially being in my position, it’s really important to know who you can trust,” he says. “You build relationships over your career and I feel I know now who I can speak to, who I can trust. I’ve a lot of people I can trust, that’s for sure.”

By Mark Critchley

Harry Maguire repays Gareth Southgate’s faith with exemplary World Cup displays

World Cup 2022: England vs France

13:15 , Jamie Braidwood

England have enjoyed back-to-back three-goal wins at the World Cup but their defensive strength will be key if they are to win their quarter-final against France.

The only goals England have conceded in the tournament came in their opening group game against Iran, while leading 4-0 and 6-1 with the latter being a disputed late penalty.

They will face by far their toughest test to date against the reigning champions at Al Bayt Stadium, though, and here we look at what the statistics show us.

Key stats as England prepare for France in World Cup quarter-finals

World Cup 2022: England vs France

13:01 , Jamie Braidwood

England manager Gareth Southgate wants his team to be bold and attack France in Saturday’s huge World Cup quarter-final clash, and hopes the occasion will “bring millions together”.

Southgate led England to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018 and the final of Euro 2020 last summer and hopes the experience of “high pressure nights” will help his team as they take on the defending champions France in their biggest test of the tournament so far.

England are facing Les Bleus in the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time and must figure out how to stop France’s star forward Kylian Mbappe, who is the top scorer at the World Cup in Qatar with five goals.

France will also carry threat from attackers Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Demeble but Southgate wants England to focus on their own strengths and deliver a performance for the nation to be “proud of”.

Gareth Southgate hopes England’s clash against France ‘brings millions together’

World Cup 2022: England vs France

12:45 , Jamie Braidwood

Never before have England and France met in the knockout stages of a men’s major tournament, but that will change on Saturday when the nations clash in the quarter-finals of the Qatar World Cup.

England were the best performing team in the group stage and continued to impress by netting three and keeping a clean sheet against Senegal in the last 16. France, however, are defending champions, one of the tournament favourites, and possess arguably the best player in the world right now.

Kylian Mbappe, who was crucial to France’s 2018 triumph in Russia, has already scored five times in Qatar, including twice in Les Bleus’ 3-1 victory over Poland in the round of 16.

Stopping the 23-year-old Paris Saint-Germain forward will be key to England’s hopes of setting up a semi-final with Morocco or Portugal, but what is Gareth Southgate’s best approach – a back four or back five? Kieran Trippier or Kyle Walker at right back? Should Trent Alexander Arnold factor in somehow?

Here is how our writers would have England line up against France at the Al-Bayt Stadium on Saturday:

Back four or back five? Our writers pick England starting XI vs France

World Cup 2022: England vs France

12:30 , Jamie Braidwood

Gareth Southgate said it is important that Ben White’s departure from the World Cup for personal reasons is “respected” after a report emerged of an alleged bust-up with England assistant Steve Holland.

The 25-year-old did not feature in the first two Group B matches and missed the 3-0 win against Wales through illness, with the Football Association announcing the following day that he had returned home.

The governing body said White left for “personal reasons” and was not expected to return to the squad in Qatar, asking “that the player’s privacy is respected at this moment in time”.

Ben White’s World Cup exit must be ‘respected’, Gareth Southgate insists

World Cup 2022: England vs France

12:15 , Jamie Braidwood

Kylian Mbappe: World Cup hero for France and king of the chateau

Every year more than 1,000 of the most gifted young boys and girls in France trial for one of 23 coveted places at the Clairefontaine academy. Many of the modern greats of French football were schooled here, such as Nicolas Anelka and Thierry Henry, and the country’s record goalscorers Olivier Giroud and Eugenie Le Sommer.

Clairefontaine is nestled in dense forest an hour outside Paris, where lush pitches and smart dormitories surround an imposing chateau used by the French senior national teams. It is also a kind of bait: the young players who aspire to become professionals one day are forbidden from stepping inside the castle until they have made the grade.

For those who saw Kylian Mbappe grace the grass of Clairefontaine, his success was never in doubt, writes Lawrence Ostlere

World Cup star Mbappe is king of the chateau for France

World Cup 2022: England vs France

12:00 , Jamie Braidwood

Grant Wahl, one of the most respected American sports journalists and perhaps the country’s best-known writer on soccer, died early on Saturday while covering the World Cup match between Argentina and the Netherlands in Qatar.

Wahl is said to have collapsed while in the media booth at Lusail Iconic Stadium during extra time, and could not be revived.

The journalist was covering his eighth World Cup, and made headlines earlier in the tournament when he said he was refused entry to a game for wearing a rainbow T-shirt.

Wahl’s agent Tim Scanlan told the New York Times that the sportswriter had gone into acute distress in the final minutes of the quarter-final match, which he was covering from press section in the upper stands of the stadium.

The journalist had written about his health struggles at the tournament earlier this week. On Monday, he said that he had visited a hospital after his body “finally broke down on me”. “Three weeks of little sleep, high stress and lots of work can do that to you,” Wahl wrote.

US soccer writer Grant Wahl dies in Qatar while covering World Cup match

World Cup 2022: England vs France

11:45 , Jamie Braidwood

England boss Gareth Southgate revealed in the pre-match press conference in Doha that he will not speak to the players before they enter the pitch in Al Khor, instead leaving it to his skipper to give the final speech.

“The preparation has been done, everyone will be talking in the changing room, everyone will be talking about the same messages that we have been talking about for the last six days,” Kane said.

“It will just be a small briefing in a huddle, I will think about it 24 hours before, but it is just to go over what we have been preparing for. At that stage the players will be ready, just itching to get out there and play.

“You rarely get six days to wait for a quarter-final so we are more than ready to get out there and get going.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

World Cup 2022: England vs France

11:31 , Jamie Braidwood

England captain Harry Kane insists the team will go into their World Cup clash against France with “more belief” than in their run to the semi-final four years ago.

“I think looking back, in 2018 we didn’t really know what to expect from the group,” he said on the eve of the France contest.

“Of course we went there with the belief we could win, it was almost a new experience for a lot of us, we got to the semi-final there and everyone was over the moon. Whether we had the full belief we could win the tournament, I’m not quite sure.

“We backed that up in the Euros by getting to a final we lost by missing a couple of kicks of the ball. Belief has been building for four or five years now and we entered this tournament hoping and knowing we can win it.

“Now it is about pushing on, we face a really tough game tomorrow but I know everyone is ready, we are prepared and we will get into that game with more belief than perhaps we did in 2018.”

World Cup 2022: England vs France

11:16 , Jamie Braidwood

Jordan Pickford on ‘rascal’ World Cup balls: “The balls are a bit different to what I’m used to in the Premier League with the Nike ball at my club. They’re definitely a bit different.

“But I wouldn’t say so with regards to saving a penalty. I think the Morocco v Spain goalkeeper, Bono the Morocco goalkeeper made some very good saves.

“But some people might say they weren’t as good penalties. But you’ve still got to execute that save and I think that’s what the goalkeepers have been doing.

“They’re called Speedshells, so there’s your clue. They are just a bit different. They’re just a different ball.

“Personally you get used to them the longer you play with them. You play with a Premier League ball, a Nike ball, every game in the Premier League and use this Adidas ball straight off the back of the Premier league ball.

“It always takes a bit of adjusting with a different type of ball and a different manufacturer. But it’s something I’m used to and it’s fine now.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

World Cup 2022: England vs France

11:01 , Jamie Braidwood

If Saturday’s quarter-final does go to penalties, and Kylian Mbappe steps up first, he is going to have Jordan Pickford looking right into his eyes. The England goalkeeper described it as “part of my process”, as he gave an insight into the technique that has seen him make saves in all three of the shootouts he’s been involved in for the international team.

Pickford also revealed that he does think the ball is different, but went into detail, putting a different spin – so to speak – on a well-worn tournament story.

“For me, penalty shootouts, I’ve got my same process which I do all the time,” the goalkeeper said. “In each individual penalty I’m facing, I will do the same thing. I don’t change my process and hopefully I go the right way and execute the save. You can do research but it is about executing your process, your dive on the night of the shootout.

“I just have a look at them and see how they’re feeling. But they’ve got their process as a penalty taker, and as a goalkeeper I’ve got my process, and it’s whoever comes out on top on that individual penalty.”

Jordan Pickford ready to ‘step up and take’ penalty in France quarter-final

World Cup 2022: England vs France

10:45 , Jamie Braidwood

Sources close to Raheem Sterling initially indicated armed intruders had broken into his home while his family were inside, but subsequent police statements said the occupants of the house had reported items missing after returning to the family home from an international trip.

Southgate pointed to the Football Association statement explaining that Sterling’s absence was down to a “family matter” when the disparity to the initial reported reasons were mentioned.

“The reason given was because there was property taken from his house,” he said.

“His wife was certainly concerned with what had gone on. He felt the need to be with his family. I can understand that. If your home has been intruded, that’s a feeling that is very difficult to have. “

Southgate said he cannot be “judge and jury there” as manager, with the England coach more interested in how Sterling can be used against France.

The 28-year-old only landed back in Qatar on Friday morning and is “obviously not going to start” a match that he will be involved in.

“He wanted to train today,” Southgate said. “Normally we wouldn’t do that having been on a long flight, but it was a lighter session, so no risk with doing that.

“He’ll be involved tomorrow, but what that looks like we’ve yet to decide because we’ve not been able to see him on the training pitch, so really hard to tell what his level is.

“He’s not been with us, in terms of on the pitch, since Saturday, so we’ll just have to assess that. But really pleased he’s back and of course he is an important player for us.”

World Cup 2022: England vs France

10:30 , Jamie Braidwood

Didier Deschamps and Gareth Southgate share systems, styles and selection process - but not yet success

It is a modern-day Entente Cordiale. Gareth Southgate and Didier Deschamps comprise a mutual admiration society. The England manager has been studying France’s successful 2018 World Cup campaign. His French counterpart approves of the way Southgate has overseen an improvement in England’s fortunes.

“I very much like Gareth,” he said. “We have met on a number of occasions and have talked about a number of things. He had a long and distinguished career and he is also a very good coach. He has enabled England to get some very good results over the years.”

Indeed, Deschamps believes he holds Southgate in higher esteem than many of the English. A soundtrack to the last World Cup was “Southgate, you’re the one.” By the time England lost 4-0 to Hungary in June, the message from the stands was different. “You don’t know what you’re doing,” was the verdict of many supporters.

If this World Cup with a series of successful calls - from backing Harry Maguire throughout to choosing Marcus Rashford against Wales to selecting Jordan Henderson against Senegal to preferring Phil Foden to Rashford on the left in the last 16 - has suggested Southgate actually has a sure touch, he also has a supporter in a World Cup winner. “If I am understood correctly, not everyone appreciates him so much in his own country,” Deschamps said.

By Richard Jolly

Deschamps and Southgate share many similarities - but not yet success

World Cup 2022: England vs France

10:15 , Jamie Braidwood

Gareth Southgate totally understood why Raheem Sterling needed to return home during the World Cup and revealed he has needed to step up security at his own house.

England boss Southgate said: “I had a long discussion with Raheem on the morning of the game. I don’t think I should go into every little detail. What I heard was enough concern that he had for his family, that it was the right thing for him to go home. He’s travelled back last night, he’s back with us.

“You know as a manager that if a player is not in the right space to play in the game and needs that time. I had it with Delphy (Fabian Delph) in Russia, in different circumstances, because his wife was giving birth.

“You know that you want them really around for the game, but if they have got other things going on in their life that are difficult to be dealing with in that moment, I think any modern workplace has got to understand those things.

“I could relate to it because I’ve had to put extra security at home because pictures of my house have been published through this tournament. My wife was concerned about that.

“None of that is helpful. These are the sorts of spin-offs you have when you are involved with England. So, I could totally understand where Raheem was in terms of feeling the need to look after his family at that time.”

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

World Cup 2022: England vs France

10:00 , Jamie Braidwood

As England’s staff currently attempt to work out how to stop Kylian Mbappe, there is a very relevant question that’s confounded some around the French squad.

How do you lose the reigning Ballon d’Or winner and become better? How has that made the actual best player in the world become better?

This has been the consequence of Karim Benzema’s tragically unfortunate – but potentially serendipitous – injury. France look much more coherent and combative than at Euro 2020. Mbappe looks like he is now fully forging his own era, something made all the more conspicuous by the fact it is happening in Qatar and he plays for Qatar’s other major sportswashing project at Paris Saint-Germain.

He certainly feels at home right now, and comfortable with himself. This is in large part down to the make-up of the team, writes Miguel Delaney.

Why Kylian Mbappe and France are better off without Karim Benzema

World Cup 2022: England vs France

09:45 , Jamie Braidwood

Gareth Southgate on England’s team selection: “We decided on Monday. We’d already watched by Monday night all the games of France, we’d already reviewed our game from Senegal.

“So, we’re very clear on the right path because then you’ve got to deliver that through the week. We’re comfortable with where we’re at.”

On feeling prepared for the quarter-finals: “Well, I’d be an idiot if I hadn’t learnt over five years managing some of the biggest games in world football, managing some of the most high-profile players in Europe.

“Going through the experience of having one of the most high-profile jobs in the country, you learn quite a lot.

“You constantly improve as a coach. Another four-five years down the line I’ll be a better coach than I am now. Another hundred games, or whatever.

“That, I think, is the challenge for every manager, every coach - you’ve got to constantly improve, you’ve got to find the new things that are happening that can improve the team.

“How does the team evolve over a period of time? In Russia, it was the right way to go to get the best players we had at that time on the pitch.

“I think we’ve constantly tried to evolve that, and I think we’ve done that during this tournament as well.

“I know people think I have a preference for a certain system, but if anything my preference has always been 4-3-3, but I don’t think it’s always been appropriate for us to play and get the best out of the team.”

World Cup 2022: England vs France

09:30 , Jamie Braidwood

So, how do England stop Kylian Mbappe?

You would be forgiven for thinking that England only have to come up against one player on Saturday. And yet even if that were the case, we would still be talking about quite the player. Kylian Mbappé has almost been the sole focus of the build-up to this World Cup quarter-final against France, as this tournament’s top scorer puts forward a compelling case to be the best in the world.

There is every chance that somebody else makes the difference at the Al Bayt. As several England squad members have been at pains to point out this week, the reigning world champions are hardly a one-man team. There is also the enduring quality of Antoine Griezmann, a rejuvenated Ousmane Dembele, not to mention France’s record goalscorer Olivier Giroud. Who knows, maybe even an England player could be the matchwinner.

But sometimes, the most important individual battle is also the most obvious one, writes Mark Critchley.

So, how do England stop Kylian Mbappe?

World Cup 2022: England vs France

09:15 , Jamie Braidwood

Gareth Southgate says England are better prepared for World Cup success than four years ago and ready to “nail” holders France in Saturday’s blockbuster quarter-final.

The biggest thing for me in the game is going to be our mentality,” the England manager said. “We’ll of course be tactically prepared.

“But on these nights you’ve got to have men that stand up and take on the challenge. That’s the bit that we’ve got to prove to people.

“We’ve had some outstanding nights and the next game is always the most important. It’s against a good level of opponent, one we’re ready for. One, if you’d asked me four years ago were we quite ready, I’m not sure.

“Now I feel differently about that, and that’s because we’ve got evidence over a long period of results.

“Historically we have always talked well, but the evidence wasn’t there. Now we’ve got more evidence and we’ve got to go and nail this type of game now.”

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

World Cup 2022: England vs France

09:00 , Jamie Braidwood

England calm and confident ahead of biggest test of Gareth Southgate era

It speaks to Gareth Southgate’s confidence in this England team that he had decided his formation and starting XI for the France match on Monday morning. While so many others around the squad were worrying about Kylian Mbappe, and wondering whether Southgate would agonise over a big choice on how to approach him, the manager had already long made up his mind.

That came after a 9am presentation on France from FA head of coaching Steve Dittmer that just confirmed what the England manager was already thinking. Southgate is now so confident in his team that he doesn’t feel they need to compromise for a player like Mbappe in the way he used to.

That has only helped to focus the work of the week. The key for the coaches since then, and especially in the day before the game, has been to distil all crucial points to messages the players can easily digest.

Assistant Steve Holland says that the challenge is that the players are so full of confidence that “when they’re walking out of the tunnel on match day they’ve been through a foundation and a process they believe has got a chance”.

The England squad believe they’ve got much more than a chance. The view within the camp - from players to staff - is that they’ve never been in as good a place going into such a game in terms of form, mentality and experience.

England vs France: Big game preview by Miguel Delaney

England calm and confident ahead of biggest test of Gareth Southgate era

World Cup 2022: England vs France

08:52 , Jamie Braidwood

Gareth Southgate defends England tactics and details how to stop Kylian Mbappe

Gareth Southgate has bullishly defended his tactical approach, saying his job is “to win football matches” and “not just have a philosophy”.

The debate around England’s attack has formed one of the main remaining criticisms of the manager, with Southgate commonly perceived as lacking a big idea compared to other major nations.

In what could be construed as a pointed line about Spain and Germany’s World Cup campaigns though, Southgate said: “If you’re going home at the start of the tournament then the philosophy doesn’t wash”.

The England boss also said that, contrary to perceptions, he would rather not play a three-man centre-half line.

Gareth Southgate defends tactics and details how England can stop Kylian Mbappe

World Cup 2022: England vs France

08:46 , Jamie Braidwood

What is the team news?

England are expected to name an unchanged team against France, with Gareth Southgate set to select a 4-3-3 formation despite the threat posed by Kylian Mbappe.

That means Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden will start either side of Harry Kane, with Jordan Henderson once again joining Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice in midfield.

Kyle Walker will face the biggest match of his career against Mbappe at right back, with John Stones, Henderson and Saka all set to offer support.

Raheem Sterling will be involved after returning to training on Friday, although the forward remains short of preparation time after flying back to the UK this week, while Callum Wilson has shaken off an injury niggle.

France star Mbappe missed training on Tuesday due to an apparent ankle issue, but the forward was back on the pitch a day later, fortunately for Les Bleus.

Predicted line-ups

England XI: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Henderson, Rice, Bellingham; Foden, Kane, Saka.

France XI: Lloris; Kounde, Varane, Upamecano, T Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot, Griezmann; Dembele, Giroud, Mbappe.

World Cup 2022: England vs France

08:44 , Jamie Braidwood

When is England vs France?

The match is scheduled to kick off at 7pm GMT (10pm local time) on Saturday 10 December.

The fixture is set to take place at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.

How can I watch it?

England vs France will air live on ITV 1 in the UK, and it will stream live on the broadcaster’s ITVX website and app.

World Cup 2022: England vs France

08:40 , Jamie Braidwood

England play France in a huge World Cup quarter-final in Qatar tonight. The Three Lions face their toughest test of the tournament so far against the defending champions France after topping Group B and defeating Senegal in the last 16 to reach this stage.

Gareth Southgate is expected to name an unchanged team for England’s first ever match against France in the knockout stages of a major international tournament, which should see Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden retain their places in a 4-3-3 system.

The England manager has urged his team to be bold and attack France, who have in Kylian Mbappe this World Cup’s leading goalscorer and perhaps the most dangerous foward in football.

England reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia in 2018 but Southgate believes his team are better prepared for success now than four years ago. With millions around the country set to tune in, this could be the night that makes or breaks those hopes.

Follow live build-up to Engand vs France, as well as all the latest team news and updates, in our live blog below