France and England, two storied heavyweights, will take the stage on December 10 to decide who will go to the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup. Little separates the two teams after they sent Poland and Senegal packing in the round of 16. Both teams boast superstars, established veterans and football heritage.
There is a point to prove for both as well, with England looking to end their trophy drought dating back to 1966 when they last lifted the World Cup, and defending champions France seeking to become the only team other than Brazil to retain the championship.
Be sure to check in with ESPN throughout the tournament as we bring you the latest from Qatar. Here’s what you might have missed from Sunday’s World Cup events, and a look ahead to Monday for what happens next.
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Settlement between England and France
We are going for an exciting match when European champions England meet current World Cup title holders France on 10 December at 2 p.m. ET. Gareth Southgate’s side are unbeaten in Qatar and under the head coach England are yet to lose in 90 minutes of major tournament football. Their emphatic 3-0 win against Senegal shows just how cohesive, effective and dangerous this side is. Will they be able to overcome the world champions?
France boasts one of the best players in the world in Kylian Mbappe, who leads the tournament with five goals. Despite missing Karim Benzema, Christopher Nkunku, N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba through injury, Les Bleus are lethal in the attacking third and look to make a deep run in the tournament. Didier Deschamps’ side cruised past Poland to progress to the quarter-finals, and will face much tougher opposition in the Three Lions.
– World Cup bracket: England, France set up QF match
England are spoiled for choice in almost every position, particularly attack, with the likes of Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka to name a few. What will be of great interest and consideration is how Southgate will set up his defense and midfield to stifle the threat of Mbappe. Will Kyle Walker be able to stop the PSG superstar?
France and England meet for the 32nd time, with the English leading the series 17-5-9. The previous World Cup ties between the two went to England, who won in 1966 and 1982. However, this will be the first meeting between them in the knockout stages of a major tournament.
Could this be a clash for the ages?
Gab Marcotti and Craig Burley praise Olivier Giroud after he became France’s all-time men’s top scorer.
Will Neymar be ready for the South Korea clash?
Brazil coach Tite said that if training for Neymar on Sunday goes well, he will be available for the clash against South Korea on Monday. Neymar injured his right ankle in the opening game against Serbia, which they won 2–0.
“Today has become one of the most difficult moments of my career,” Neymar said on Instagram after the injury.
The PSG player provides the creative spark to Brazil’s attack and is key to their World Cup hopes, and his team-mates along with fans around the world will be hoping he is fully fit to face Son Heung Min and Co. Without Neymar, Brazil won against Switzerland and lost against Cameroon.
“He will train this afternoon and if everything is in order, he will play,” Tite told a press conference on Sunday. “Neymar being in the lineup depends on the medical department clearing it.”
The Selecao have suffered two further injury setbacks with both striker Gabriel Jesus and defender Alex Telles ruled out for the rest of the tournament, but remain the favorites to lift the trophy given their squad’s depth and attacking assets. Will they lift the World Cup trophy for a record sixth time?
Julien Laurens explains his concern for Neymar after seeing the latest pictures of his injured ankle.
Today’s top reads
Brazil is still working on attacking options
Can Brazil field two wingers with a centre-forward and still maintain defensive solidity while doing so?
You can’t win a World Cup if you can’t score goals
The US always brags about hanging with big teams in the World Cup instead of beating them. For that to change, the US needs to score goals.
Relentless pressure earned Japan two famous victories. Will Croatia be No. 3?
No team had ever beaten Germany and Spain in the same World Cup until Japan did so in the group stage. Can they recreate the magic against Croatia?
Your best bets (odds via Caesars Sportsbook)
If you’re looking to bet on the World Cup, ESPN contributors Paul Carr, Dan Thomas and Dalen Cuff are here to give you important tips on odds, options and futures. Here’s what we have for Monday’s games.
Japan (+275) vs. Croatia (+107), draw (+220)
Paul Carr: The underlying numbers for Japan and Croatia are very similar so far, and no team has made better second-half adjustments than Japan, who came from behind to beat both Germany and Spain. I’m betting on that again, and the fact that Croatia’s lack of a reliable striker will continue to be an issue. I like Japan to advance to +150.
Dan Thomas: This is a very difficult one to call. As a result, I will sit on the fence and go for a draw after 90 minutes.
Dalen Cuff: Japan have two of the most impressive wins of the tournament, coming from behind to beat both Germany and Spain. I think this will be a good, entertaining game, but I’m not willing to play a side. I like both teams to score (+105).
Brazil (-390) vs. South Korea (+1200), draw (+430)
Carr: Of course, this is a long shot, but given all of Brazil’s injuries, I don’t mind South Korea moving on to +550. I also like a draw in the first half at +130. All three of Brazil’s group games were 0-0 at half-time and I like a 1-1 scoreline in case the game breaks open.
Thomas: That Neymar is back in the starting XI will bring Brazil back to full strength. I think this will be comfortable for the favorites. I’m behind a 3-0 win.
Cuff: I’m in Brazil to win it all and I’m not backing it. However, they haven’t been as dynamic in attack as I expected, even with the exception of the last group stage where they played what was essentially a B team. Along with the injuries, I think that while they win this match, it is value in South Korea +1.5 goals (+105).
Mark Ogden gives his analysis on the best players in Qatar so far.
News and notes
Jadon Sancho has been left out of Manchester United’s squad at their training camp in Spain and will train individually, the club have confirmed. Erik ten Hag and the squad travel to southern Spain for matches against LaLiga sides Cadiz and Real Betis. However, Sancho, who has spent the World Cup break working with coaches in the Netherlands recommended by Ten Hag, is not coming. United will resume their domestic season with a Carabao Cup tie against Burnley at Old Trafford on December 21, just three days after the World Cup final, and return to Premier League action against Nottingham Forest on December 27.
Arsene Wenger insinuated that teams that made political statements early in the World Cup saw their performance on the pitch suffer as a result. Wenger, FIFA’s head of global football development, was speaking at a media briefing for FIFA’s technical study group, where he and Jurgen Klinsmann shared the group’s findings from the group stage. It was a clear reference to Germany, who Wenger did not mention by name and who lost their opening match against Japan, before the players put their hands over their mouths during the pre-match picture on the pitch.
Wenger also mentioned that FIFA’s final decision has yet to be made on the format of the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada. in 2017, the FIFA Council voted to increase the size of the World Cup and approved a format that would see the 48 teams divided into 16 groups of three teams — with the top two progressing to a round of 32. But this would mean the two teams in the last group match can play out a specific result to send both teams through at the cost of the team not playing, and this has led to a re-evaluation. “This is not settled,” Wenger said. “but there will be 16 groups of three, 12 groups of four, or two sides of six groups of four – as you organize two 24 teams.”