Jamie Carragher claims only three England players would get in the France team ahead of World Cup quarter-final
Jamie Carragher has claimed that only three England players would get in the France team as the Three Lions prepare to face the World Cup holders in Qatar.
England’s quest to win their first World Cup since 1966 continues on Saturday as Gareth Southgate’s side meet France at the Al Bayt Stadium.
The Three Lions enjoyed a relatively straightforward group stage, thrashing Iran 6-2 in their opening match and then picking up four points against USA and Wales to top Group B.
England proved too strong for African champions Senegal in the last-16 stage, with a 3-0 win sending Southgate’s team into the quarters.
Defending champions France, meanwhile, topped Group F before beating Poland 3-1 in their first knockout game in Qatar.
Carragher insists England are capable of advancing to the semi-finals at the expense of France but says only three members of Southgate’s squad would get in Didier Deschamps’ team.
‘It is essential for England to stay bold and deal with the occasion by imposing their qualities because – player for player – they are disadvantaged when it comes to the experience of delivering the killer touch in games of this magnitude,’ the former Liverpool defender told the Daily Telegraph.
‘We cannot ignore that France has more high-class footballers accustomed to winning the biggest prizes in club and international football.
‘When tasked with selecting a combined England/France XI, you realise how well blessed Deschamps is, even with so many injuries. For me, only Walker, Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane would make the France starting line-up.
‘France’s back four consists of defenders from Bayern Munich (Dayot Upamecano), Barcelona (Jules Kounde) and AC Milan (Theo Hernandez), while Manchester United’s Raphael Varane was a multiple Champions League winner at Real Madrid.
‘Central midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni was a huge signing for Real last summer who has made the European champions stronger, and although right winger Ousmane Dembele’s move to Barcelona has not been a huge success, we have seen glimpses of the qualities that made him a £100-million signing.
‘He will fancy his chance of causing Luke Shaw problems. Bakuyo Saka may eventually eclipse Dembele – possibly in the next 36 hours – but he is still relatively early on his journey to the very top.
‘If this sounds too downbeat about England’s chances, there is one critical advantage Southgate can exploit.
‘If France have a superior starting XI, England have a better 16-man squad if both sides use their full allocation of substitutes.’
England boss Southgate, meanwhile, has warned his players that Kylian Mbappe is not France’s only threat as the Three Lions prepare for Saturday’s mouth-watering quarter-final.
PSG superstar Mbappe starred in France’s World Cup win four years ago and has looked in formidable form in Qatar, scoring five goals in four games.
‘France have got a lot of very good players,’ Southgate said when asked about the threat of Mbappe. ‘We will always prepare any team we play against for certain individuals, that the detail of marking them and dealing with them is important.
‘We’ve got to stick on the path we’ve been heading. We’ve done a lot of things very well. There are things we are going to have to do better to get a result against France.
‘The basis of our game is good with and without the ball we need to make sure that the detail is as close to perfect. We are never gonna get perfection but we have to get as close to that as we can.’
MORE : Luka Modric names favourite to win World Cup ahead of quarter-finals
MORE : Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hints at more winter World Cups
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.