France and England, two heavyweights with a long history will take the stage on Dec. 10 to decide who goes into the semifinals of the 2022 World Cup. There is little to separate the two teams after they sent Poland and Senegal packing in the round of 16. Both teams boast superstars, established veterans and footballing heritage.
There’s a point to prove for both, as well, with England looking to end their trophy drought running back to 1966 when they last lifted the world title, and France, defending champions, 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 happenings, and a look ahead to Monday for what’s next.
– World Cup news, features, previews and more
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England vs. france showdown
We are in for a thrilling match when European champions England will take on current World Cup title holders France on Dec. 10 at 2 pm 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 how cohesive, effective and dangerous this side are. 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 to injury, Blues are lethal in the attacking third and are looking to make a deep run in the tournament. Didier Deschamps’ side cruised past Poland to advance to the quarterfinals, and will face much tougher opposition in the Three Lions.
– World Cup bracket: England, France set up QF match
England are spoiled with choices in almost every position, especially 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 deliberation is how Southgate will set up his defense and midfield to smother the threat from Mbappe. Will Kyle Walker be able to stop the PSG superstar?
France and England will face off 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 stage 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 top men’s scorer.
Will Neymar be ready for 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 match against Serbia, which they won 2-0.
« Today has become one of the hardest moments in my career, » said Neymar on Instagram after his injury.
The PSG player provides the creative spark to Brazil’s attack and is key to their World Cup hopes, and his teammates along fans around the world will hope he is fully fit to face Son Heung Min and Co. Without Neymar, Brazil won against Switzerland and lost against Cameroon.
« He will practice this afternoon, and if everything is okay, he will play, » Tite said at a news conference on Sunday. « Neymar being on the lineup depends on the medical department clearing that. »
Tea Selecao have suffered two more injury setbacks with both striker Gabriel Jesus and defender Alex Telles ruled out of the rest of the tournament, but remain the favorites to lift the trophy given the squad depth and attacking resources. 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 still tinkering with attacking options
Are Brazil able to field two wingers with a centre-forward and still maintain defensive solidity while they do it?
You can’t win a World Cup if you can’t score goals
The US always boast about hanging with big teams at the World Cup instead of beating them. For that to change, the USA must score goals.
Relentless pressure earned Japan two famous wins. 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 re-create 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 key tips on odds, options and futures. Here’s what we have for Monday’s matches.
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 banking 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 at +150.
Dan Thomas: This is a really tricky one to call. As I result, I’ll sit on the fence and go for a draw after 90 minutes.
Dalen Cuff: Japan has two of the most impressive wins in the tourney, 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)
Square: Obviously this is a long shot, but given all of Brazil’s injuries, I don’t mind South Korea to advance at +550. I also like the first-half draw at +130. All three of Brazil’s group games were 0-0 at the half, and I like having the cushion of a 1-1 score in case the game opens up.
Thomas: Neymar being back in the starting 11 will bring Brazil back to full strength. I think this will be comfortable for the favorites. I’ll back a 3-0 win.
Cuff: I’m on Brazil to win it all, and I’m not backing off that. However, they have not been as dynamic in the attack as I expected, even excluding that last group game where they played what was essentially a B-team. Coupled with the injuries, I think that while they win this game, there 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 team for their training camp in Spain and will train individually, the club have confirmed. Erik ten Hag and squad will travel to southern Spain for games 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 going. United will resume their domestic season with a Carabao Cup match against Burnley at Old Trafford on Dec. 21, just three days after the World Cup final, and return to Premier League action against Nottingham Forest on Dec. 27.
Arsene Wenger insinuated that teams which made political statements early in the World Cup saw their on-field performance suffer as a result. Wenger, FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, spoke at a media briefing for FIFA’s Technical Study Group, in which 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 game to Japan, before which the players placed their hands over their mouths during the pregame on-field photo.
Wenger also mentioned that FIFA’s final decision has not yet been made on the format for the 2026 World Cup, which is being 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 which would see the 48 teams divided into 16 groups of three teams — with the top two going through to a round of 32. But this would mean the two teams in the final group fixture could play out a specific result to send both teams through at the expense of the team not playing, and this has led to a rethink. « This is not decided, » Wenger said. « but it will be 16 groups of three, 12 groups of four, or two sides of six groups of four — like you organize two 24 teams. »