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Friday, January 27, 2023

Southgate excited for ‘fantastic challenge’ as England prepare for France meeting

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Gareth Southgate is excited for the fantastic challenge as England prepare to face France in the World Cup quarter-finals.

England eased into the last eight with a 3-0 win over Senegal on Sunday, as goals from Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka secured progress.

The Three Lions now face a formidable task in world champions France, who are looking to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to defend the trophy.

France secured a 3-1 win over Poland to reach the quarter-finals and possess the tournament’s leading scorer in Kylian Mbappe.

Southgate believes facing France is the ‘biggest test’ for England and discussed his excitement ahead of a huge clash this weekend.

“In terms of France, it’s the biggest test we could face,” Southgate said.

“They’re world champions with an incredible depth of talent and outstanding individual players. They’re very difficult to play against and score goals against, so it’s a fantastic challenge and a brilliant game to prepare for.”

The other confirmed quarter-final will see the Netherlands take on Argentina for a place in the last four and Southgate said his squad want to test themselves against the world’s best in Qatar.

“The two quarter-finals that are already in place are historic rivalries,” he said.

“It’s a great game to be involved with and to test ourselves against the very best.”

The England manager spoke on France’s depth of talent and highlighted the experienced Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud as potential danger men.

“I think [Antoine] Griezmann now has over 70 consecutive games for France and I think he’s also a phenomenal player.

“We know Olivier Giroud so well and they also have outstanding young midfield players. Everywhere you look, when we’re studying France at every age group, they have incredible depth of talent at every position.”

Read – Five of the most iconic players from the 2006 World Cup

Read Also – Five of the most memorable World Cup surprise packages

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