Three Lions face Les Bleus in World Cup quarter-final crunch

Three Lions face Les Bleus in World Cup quarter-final crunch

England vs France: World Cup quarter-final clash KICKS OFF as 23 MILLION Britons around the world watch ‘le crunch’ between Three Lions and Les Bleus that could take squad through to semi-final against underdog Morocco

  • Thousands of fans are cheering on England at the stadium in Al Khor in Qatar
  • Millions more back home are piled into boozers or settled in front of their TVs
  • Fans on both sides agreed the winners will likely go on to lift the World Cup
  • Follow all of MailOnline’s live coverage of the hotly anticipated England vs France quarter-final in Qatar here 

England captain Harry Kane has led his squadmates onto the turf at Qatar’s Al-Bayt stadium for their quarter-final clash with defending champions France. 

Both teams passionately bellowed their respective national anthems minutes before kickoff at the Al Bayt Stadium. The winners will go on to face Morocco in the semi-finals on Wednesday after the African nation triumphed over Portugal.  

Fans on both sides agree the winners of tonight’s match will have one hand on the trophy, with Kane telling media ahead of the clash: ‘We go into the (France) game with more belief than we did in 2018.’ 

Thousands of English fans are cheering on Gareth Southgate’s men in the stadium and fan zones on the ground in Al Khor, while millions more back home are piled into boozers or settled in front of their televisions in the hope the Three Lions will turn les Bleus red. 

England players link arms during the singing of the national anthem England v France, FIFA World Cup 2022, Quarter Final, Football, Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar – 10 Dec 2022

Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham of England warm up prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter final match between England and France

The two giants of European football meet at the Al Bayt Stadium, with the winner facing Morocco in the semi-finals on Wednesday after the African nation triumphed over Portugal. 

Both nations have cruised their way into the quarter-final stage, but Saturday’s match is the biggest of the tournament yet, with some fans even describing it as a ‘final’ following Brazil’s shock exit to Croatia. 

Gareth Southgate and his French counterpart Didier Deschamps named unchanged starting lineups for tonight’s battle. 

Defending champions France start with Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe up front, with the tournament’s top scorer set to battle it out with England’s pacy right back Kyle Walker.

England’s Declan Rice with Harry Kane ahead of the FIFA World Cup Quarter-Final match at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar. Picture date: Saturday December 10, 2022

Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden of England inspect the pitch prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter final match between England and France at Al Bayt Stadium on December 10, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar

Keeper Hugo Lloris wins a record-extending 143rd cap for Les Bleus, breaking the tie with 1998 World Cup winner Lilian Thuram, while Jordan Pickford gets his 50th cap between the England posts. 

Forward Raheem Sterling, who is just back with the squad after returning to England following a burglary at his home, is on the bench. 

Gareth Southgate is so sure of what his England team can deliver against France tonight that he decided his line-up on Monday.

‘We had already watched all the games of France and we had already reviewed our game against Senegal,’ he revealed yesterday. ‘We’re very clear that we are on the right path.’ 

Kane will lead the Three Lions to what they hope will be a spot in the semi-finals against Morocco

Jordan Pickford of England warms up prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter final match between England and France at Al Bayt Stadium on December 10, 2022

Didier Deschamps, head coach of France, steps onto the pitch with French team officials prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, quarterfinal match between England and France at Al Bayt Stadium on December 10, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar

Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England, arrives at the stadium prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter final match between England and France at Al Bayt Stadium on December 10, 2022

Fans in good spirits before the game.England play France in the World Cup Quarter finals at the Al Bayt stadium in Qatar. The winner will play Morocco in the semi Final. England v France, Fanzone at Boxpark, Croydon

Fans are pictured piled into BOXPARK Croydon as England take on France in Qatar

Some 28 million pints will be sunk in drinking holes across Britain today – with another 50 million to be supped at home

The fan zone in Newcastle is at capacity tonight with fans piling in to enjoy the atmosphere

The tension and excitement among fans watching in British boozers was palpable.

Joe Goulding, 25, a sales manager watching the game at Lunar Springs in central Birmingham, said: ‘This is the big one. If we beat France it is coming home 100 per cent. I have loved the World Cup and seeing the local talent like Jude Bellingham on display.

‘This game is going to be really tough. We have to single out Mbappe but I don’t think there’s a right back in the world that can deal with him but somehow we will overcome.’

Pubs and bars readying themselves for another bumper evening – some 28 million pints will be sunk in drinking holes across Britain today in public gatherings of a scale not seen since before the coronavirus pandemic.

Shouts of ‘allez les Bleus’ from French fans, alongside England chants, could be heard as the atmosphere began to build at the Al Bayt Stadium.

England supporters Ben Doveton and George Doveton, 12, from Bedfordshire, were feeling excited and nervous ahead of the game.

George said: ‘I’m a bit nervous because they’re France, the won the last World Cup, they’re not a pushover and it’s going to be a very tough game.

England supporters in Newcastle pictured at the Central Park fans zone ahead of England’s World Cup quarter final match against France

Alan Horton and friends prepare for the England vs France clash at the Grant Arms pub in Birmingham

An England fan ahead of the FIFA World Cup Quarter-Final match at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar

England v France – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar – December 10, 2022 England fans inside the stadium before the match

England will be ready if it goes to penalties, sports psychologist claims

Football psychologist Lee Chambers insists the Three Lions won’t be scared by spot kicks should tonight’s quarter-final go all the way – despite the national side’s patchy record.

Rather than being weighed down, Lee says England’s fun-loving squad will have been trained to handle anything thrown at them.

Lee, who worked as a psychologist for Man City and Everton, said: ‘It’s not something you’d have said with much confidence in recent years but I’m backing England to triumph if the game goes to penalties.

‘Gareth will have done significant work turning the threat of penalties into a challenge.

‘Each player will have had a specific routine created just for them to get them into the optimal state.

‘These routines are powerful and will cover everything from slowing breathing to preparing for antics from the goalkeeper.

‘Each player will have a bespoke plan and will rehearse carrying out the moment they step up from the halfway line.

‘England’s psychologists will have also done specific work on not ignoring the fear, but anchoring into the plan.

‘The players will have been practicing this regularly, making it much easier to switch it on at the moment they need it.’

George said he thinks Jude Bellingham can make the difference, adding on England’s chances if they win: ‘Morocco are a tough team – they beat Spain, Belgium and Portugal, you think they’re an easy side on paper but they’ve got very good unity so I think it’ll be a tough game whoever plays them.’

Mr Doverton, 56, added: ‘That just shows how important this game is. If we can beat France then we have a shot at Morocco in the semi-final.’

England fan Marcus Kelvin, 47, from Leeds, said: ‘I’m thinking 3-1 tonight, the way all the results are going I think this is our game.

Marcus added: ‘I think it’s going to be 2-1, I think they play together as a team, you see them on Instagram and everything, they just gel, they’re enjoying what they’re doing, they’re enjoying it here and the confidence brings hope.’

Back in Britain, student pals Ellie, Abi, Charlie, Rosie and Maisie, all 21, were all certain of victory.

Abi, whose family all supports Arsenal, predicted: ‘Bukhayo Saka, my favourite person on this earth will score the winner with an assist from Jude Bellingham.

‘I love this English team and especially Saka. He has come through so much in his life and is an absolute inspiration to young black men who want to get into football.’

Her friend Charlie added: ‘Nothing is going to stop us. We are going to beat France 2-1 then we’ll beat Morocco and take out Croatia in the final.’

Ellie said: ‘I love the World Cup and I like being in the pub. It gets all the business going. I quite like having the World Cup at Christmas. It gives us something to look forward to – the World Cup coming home for Christmas.’

Insurance worker Elizabeth Smith, 25, said: ‘England are scoring four again tonight. I think France will get one because they’ve got Mbappe.

‘I think we have a real chance at this World Cup. I love this England team. I have been watching all their Tic-tocs and would marry any of them. Sakha, Rashford or Kane. They are all such nice young men.’

Lorry driver Adam Reeson, 29, watching the game with his friend, tattoo artist Josh Wilson, also 29, said: ‘Whoever wins this game is going to win the World Cup. That’s how big it is.

‘I know Morocco have had a great tournament but their bubble will burst in the semi-finals.

‘I have enjoyed watching England. I can even say I like Jude Bellingham and coming from a Villa fan that is something.’

Even political leaders struggled to contain their excitement as Rishi Sunak shared a joke with French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the game, with both agreeing to ‘wish luck’ to the nation that progresses to the semi-final.

After being asked by Mr Macron if he would wish the French well should they win, the Prime Minister replied: ‘Hopefully I won’t have to. But you’ve got a deal.

‘Look forward to you getting behind the Three Lions in the next round.’ 

Rishi Sunak is pictured clutching an England football shirt

The latest social media exchange between Sunak and Macron is a sign of improved relations between London and Paris

England supporters in Newcastle start their day early by enjoying an afternoon drink at the Bee Hive pub in the city’s Bigg Market area, ahead of England’s World Cup quarter final match against France this evening

Girls from Otley Runners club in Leeds get into the World Cup and Christmas spirit just before England’s quarter-final clash with France

Earlier, fans in Newcastle celebrated as underdogs Morocco knocked out Portugal – and then cheered as images of an inconsolable Cristiano Ronaldo were shown on giant screens.

The surprise result left some England fans already eyeing up a place the World Cup final.

Railway worker Alex Timpson, 25, from Jarrow, said: ‘If we can beat France, we will beat Morocco. Tonight’s game is the key. If we win, then I think we’ll play Argentina in the final.

‘No disrespect to Morocco but we would have too much for them.’ 

Newcastle’s official fan zone was sold out ahead of the 7pm kick off, with more than 1,300 supporters set to pack out the giant marquee in the shadow of the city’s train stations.

Megan Platts, 18 and Ellie Bradley, 18 – all from Bishop Auckland, Co Durham – began drinking at midday.

Ellie, an apprentice in customer care, can said: ‘It might be freezing here in Newcastle but an England win will make it feel like summertime.

‘A couple of goals from Jude Bellingham will warm us up nicely.’

The British Beer and Pub Association hopes the 7pm kick-off time in the UK will encourage punters to visit their local early.

It predicts six million more pints could be sold during the quarter-final, providing a £26 million boost to the industry.

Pub bosses are praying for England to beat Les Bleus to reach the semi-finals and keep the World Cup dream alive.

Emma McClarkin, British Beer and Pub Association chief executive, estimated six million more pints would be sold today than usual, totally 28million and translating to a £26million boost to the industry.

She said: ‘Pubs need this, as they continue to weather what was already set to be a difficult winter. We’re hoping it will at least provide some short-term uplift to the industry and continue to lift the spirits of the nation.’

Extra police officers were deployed in London where hordes of English and French football fans will congregate to watch their respective teams battle it out.

The two giants of the European game meet at the Al Bayt Stadium, 40 miles north of capital Doha, with Morocco or Portugal awaiting the winner in the semi-finals on December 14. 

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