CHRIS SUTTON’S THREE KEY CLASHES: Kyle Walker must limit the amount of times Kylian Mbappe can cause England real damage while Declan Rice must stop Antoine Griezmann from creating for France
England take on France on Saturday looking to book their place in the tournament’s semi-finals, for the second successive World Cup in a row.
Standing in their way are the reigning world champions, and the finals standout star Kylian Mbappe, who already has five goals to his name in Qatar.
Ahead of the crunch game, Sportsmail’s Christ Sutton looks at three key clashes between the two World Cup heavyweights.
Gareth Southgate leads his England team against France on Saturday with some big clashes set to take place on the pitch
Kyle Walker v Kylian Mbappe
This is the duel we’ve been bigging up all week. How will Walker cope with Mbappe? It’s impossible to tie him down for 90 minutes.
There will be at least one moment when France’s superstar makes Walker, one of the world’s fastest right backs, look silly. But it’s on Walker to limit how often that happens. Let battle commence!
Kyle Walker has been earmarked as the man who could keep up with the star of the tournament
Declan Rice v Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann drifts from side to side and finds spaces between the opposition lines to receive the ball. He then feeds France’s rapid runners.
It will be on Rice to stop that supply line. Thankfully that’s one of the strongest parts of his game — his awareness of when to intercept is exceptional.
One concern for France with Griezmann is how the 31-year-old can be lazy tracking back. When Rice is driving forward, don’t expect to see Griezmann in tow.
Declan Rice’s protection of the back four will be key in stopping France’s talented attack
Luke Shaw v Ousmane Dembele
Everyone is talking about Walker v Mbappe. I’ve been guilty of that myself. But let’s not forget the threat from France’s right-hand side.
Dembele has slipped under the radar amid the focus on Mbappe when, really, this is not a man to underestimate.
The 25-year-old likes to drive inside from the right wing. Shaw needs to beware and so does Harry Maguire, because he will be the one Dembele is driving towards. This is a big test for England. It isn’t only on France’s left-hand side that this match will be decided.
There’s another battle on the opposite flank when Luke Shaw goes against Ousmane Dembele