England v France: Value with Three Lions to halt holders
England v France betting odds, tips and predictions
England must do it the hard way and knock out the World Cup holders if they are to stay on track to deliver the ultimate Christmas present to their fans.
Gareth Southgate’s team have barely put a foot wrong at Qatar 2022 but still head into their quarter-final as underdogs after being paired with 2018 champions France.
Saturday’s match at the Al Bayt Stadium kicks off at 7pm and is live on ITV.
England the underdogs
Having topped Group B with nine goals scored and two clean sheets, England opened the knockout phase with a comfortable 3-0 victory against Senegal in Sunday’s last-16 encounter.
England overcame heightened expectations and a bright start by the African champions at Al Bayt Stadium, where they will return this weekend to take on what Southgate called “the very best” in Qatar.
This goal just gets better and better the more you watch it!! 🤩
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) December 5, 2022
England may not have the silverware that France have but have plenty of reasons to fancy their chances.
They continue to make history under Southgate and have now won knockout matches at three successive tournaments for the first time.
Having reached the semi-final four years ago and the final at last summer’s European Championship, there is no reason to think this fearless bunch will freeze on the biggest stage as so many England teams have in the past.
They were the top European scorers in qualifying and again during the group stage in Qatar, with eight different players already on the scoresheet.
They certainly have the firepower to trouble any team and that makes the 11/5 to win in normal time the first of our England v France betting tips.
Acid test for Southgate’s squad
Critics of England may point to the favourable draws they have enjoyed at recent tournaments as part of their success.
That may be true and Southgate has always stressed the need to start beating elite nations on a regular basis if they are to become the best side in the world.
Having seen his team set up this showdown with France, Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live: “You know, this is the acid test for us. We know it’s a step up from everything we’ve had so far.
“But the team have garnered so much experience in the last few years. They’re playing with confidence.
“We look threatening, we’re scoring goals, another clean sheet, which was really pleasing to see. So, we’re in a good place but we know the level of the opposition as well.”
Four years ago in the semi-final, England struggled to get possession despite taking an early lead as Luka Modric ran the show for Croatia.
In the absence of injured duo Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante for France, there is a sense that England have the ability to dominate in the middle of the pitch this weekend.
In Jude Bellingham, they have one of the standout performers at the World Cup regardless of his age. The fact he is still only 19 simply makes his displays even more impressive.
With Jordan Henderson’s experience and the energy of Declan Rice in there too, England’s midfield have limited the service to the opposition forwards and the only goals they have conceded in Qatar came against Iran when the match was already won.
Keeping France out entirely may prove beyond them but an England win and both teams to score looks a big price at 11/2.
Walker v Mbappe
Everything has gone right so far for Southgate at this World Cup but he may have a few sleepless nights for the first time at the prospect of England going up against Kylian Mbappe.
The France forward is well on course for the Golden Boot after scoring five goals in four games and he had already provided an assist for Olivier Giroud’s opener against Poland before his brace helped seal a 3-1 win in the round of 16.
The big hope for England is the pace of Kyle Walker helps to nullify the threat of the PSG man.
The Manchester City player is one of the quickest defenders around and if he cannot stop Mbappe then perhaps nobody can.
The pair have faced each other three times in the Champions League in the last two seasons and Mbappe only managed one goal and one win for PSG, with Walker and City coming out on top twice.
Clearly this is a different test with a different support cast for both but Walker knows what he is up against and has shown he can come out on top.
Giroud boosts French firepower
France have other attacking options other than Mbappe and the aerial threat of Giroud – now France’s record goal scorer – means they can go long if they want to beat England’s press while Antoine Griezmann is able to find pockets of space between the lines.
Les Bleus are yet to keep a clean sheet in Qatar, though, which adds to the belief that this could be a high-scoring game.
With that in mind, Coral’s #YourCall option of 2/1 for both teams to score, over 2.5 goals and either team to win is added to our England v France predictions.
For a more speculative punt from the England v France betting odds, we like 28/1 for Giroud to score anytime, England to win and over 3.5 goals.
Both teams look better going forward than they do at the back and while Giroud can make an impact, England are fancied to edge a thriller.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication