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Three battles that could decide England v France

England's World Cup quarter-final against France on Saturday is a clash between two well-matched sides which looks set to be decided by fine margins.

This will be the 32nd game between the two teams and the first competitive fixture since a 1-1 draw in the group stages of Euro 2012.

Both teams have shown their attacking intent throughout the tournament, with Gareth Southgate's outfit netting 12 times in their four matches while Les Bleus have scored on six occasions, with the mercurial Kylian Mbappe grabbing five of them.

Kyle Walker's battle with the Paris Saint-Germain superstar looks set to be crucial to the final outcome, but there will be key contests taking place all over the pitch.

What: England v France, World Cup quarter-final
Where: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
When: 19:00, Saturday 10th December 2022
How to watch: ITV1
Odds: England 2/1, Draw 9/4, France 7/5

Kyle Walker v Kylian Mbappe

Manchester City's Walker looks set to be handed the task of curbing Mbappe's threat and the 32-year-old former Tottenham star certainly has the pace to deal with the Frenchman.

Walker has coped well with Mbappe three times when playing for City against PSG in the Champions League and has been a steadying influence at the back for England in Qatar so far.

However, he has been prone to costly errors in the past and was largely to blame four years ago when Croatia hit back to beat Southgate's team 2-1 in the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia.

Mbappe - 7/4 to Score at Anytime against England and 4/7 to win the Golden Boot - has had more than twice as many shots as any Les Bleus colleague in Qatar, but he is not France's only potential match-winner as the likes of Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele are all in fine form.

Walker seems certain to be in for a busy night, but has the quality to stifle’s Mbabbe's talent.

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Jude Bellingham v Aurelien Tchouameni

Jude Bellingham has come of age at this World Cup with his performances against Iran and Senegal in particular earning him plenty of plaudits.

The Borussia Dortmund teenager has been one of the stars of the tournament and appears to be as mature off the pitch as he is on it.

The 19-year-old looks set for a return to England next summer with Dortmund certain to cash in on the former Birmingham City starlet.

Bellingham leads the tournament's midfielders for duels won (26) and tackles won (11), but he has yet not come up against an opponent as talented as Tchouameni.

Real Madrid signed the 22-year-old six months ago from Monaco and he has proved his worth in Qatar, powering forward at every opportunity and playing a pivotal role in Didier Deschamps’ side.

Bellingham became the first teenager to assist in a World Cup knockout stage game during England's 3-0 last-16 victory against Senegal and currently has the game to get the better of Tchouameni.

Olivier Giroud v Harry Maguire

AC Milan striker Giroud may be 36, but he has scored three goals in three starts for France at this World Cup and became his country's all-time leading goalscorer when he netted against Poland last Sunday.

It was thought when Arsenal sold Giroud to Chelsea in 2018 that he was past his best, but the veteran striker has now scored 52 international goals and is showing no sign of slowing down.

Eight of France's nine goals have been scored by either Mbappe or Giroud, while England's 12 goals have been spread across eight players, although Harry Maguire has not managed to find the net yet.

Maguire, castigated for his displays for Manchester United in the last 18 months, continues to show for England why Southgate has faith in him.

He has not put a foot wrong yet in Qatar, although he is sure to be given a thorough test in Saturday’s match.

However, France know that the 29-year-old former Sheffield United, Hull City and Leicester City defender is a threat at set-pieces and will be marking him tightly at corners and free-kicks.

Maguire is available at a tempting 12/1 to Score at Anytime in the game, while Giroud is 6/1 to Score The First Goal.

France have surprisingly failed to keep a clean sheet in their four matches at the World Cup so far, while England have kept three, with the only goals they have conceded coming in the 6-2 thrashing of Iran.

The Three Lions are 5/2 to keep a clean sheet after 90 minutes against France.

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