L’Equipe urge France to prey on England weak link as Boyd hatches plan to deal with Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe runs with the ball Credit: Alamy
Kylian Mbappe runs with the ball Credit: Alamy

French newspaper L’Equipe want France to exploit Harry Maguire by using Kylian Mbappe when they face England on Saturday.

The France confirmed their passage through to the World Cup quarter-finals with a 3-1 victory over Poland in their round of 16 clash on Sunday, while England beat Senegal 3-0 to secure their progression.

England have used four at the back to great success this tournament but there’s speculation that Gareth Southgate will change to five in defence to make sure they have extra protection against the threat of Mbappe.

France star Mbappe has five goals and two assists in four appearances at the World Cup with only Tunisia keeping him off the scoresheet, only playing 27 minutes against the North Africans.

England defender Maguire has received plenty of stick while playing for Manchester United over the last couple of seasons but he has been near faultless for the Three Lions at the World Cup.

But L’Equipe think putting Mbappe up against Maguire will give France their best chance of beating England on Saturday.

“The winner will not be the team that has the most possession, but the one that uses it with the most suddenness,” L’Equipe wrote.

“Harry Maguire’s slowness could prove detrimental to the England rear guard, which Gareth Southgate could strengthen by abandoning his 4-3-3 for a 3-4-3, as he does every time he faces the best selections.”

Former Scotland international Kris Boyd has advised England on how to deal with Mbappe while keeping “focus” on their strengths.

Boyd said on Sky Sports (via the Daily Record): “He (Mbappe) can go outside but he wants to come inside and we’ve seen it before the way he unleashes that right foot and bends it right in the far corner. It’s a joy to watch… and I hope it happens.

“It’s easy to say at this moment in time it’s Kylian Mbappe. If it was another nation they’d say it was a two-year plan to stop him. What it tells us is that it will probably be a three/five but if you allow good players space they will hurt you. It’s about not giving him that freedom.

“From England’s point of view you have to stop it and sometimes you have to stop it at source. Stop the ball getting to him and if you can crowd an area that doesn’t allow the ball to get to Mbappe then that could be the plan.”

Presenter David Prutton then said: “That’s a good point. Our midfield could dominate their midfield,” before Boyd interrupted: “Our midfield? I’m not ‘our,’ pal.”

“You’re setting yourself up if you don’t stop him after working on it for two years. You could change to a three/five or four to accommodate Kylian Mbappe but England have to look at themselves and implement their gameplan on France.

“They can’t forget about Mbappe but at the top end of the pitch they have Phil Foden, Saka, Rashford and Bellingham gets forward. They have to focus that and England will fancy themselves.”

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