England Vs. France World Cup Quarterfinal Odds, Picks, Predictions (12/10/22)

I’m from the Northeastern United States, where if you ask Americans, there’s a lot of historic stuff. Wander around my hometown and those surrounding, and you’ll find a graveyard from the 1700s, a schoolhouse from the early parts of the next century, and even revolutionary encampments where George Washington and his troops braved the harsh winters. Like I said, historic stuff. I’m also a fan who takes part in sports rivalries that we consider to be some of the most historic; Michigan vs Ohio State, Yankees vs the Red Sox- these span over a century. But overseas in Europe, “historic” takes on a totally different scope, and rivalries can exist on a timeline that transcends sports. This brings me to the match of the hour: England vs. France, the latest installment in a rivalry that is coming up on its thousandth anniversary. Moreover, it’s an excellent football matchup between two of the most talented teams in the World today, so let’s get into the odds and make some picks for one of the most anticipated international football clashes in recent memory.

England Vs. France Odds

The defending World Champions are narrow favorites, in what Vegas sees as one of the most even matches of the Cup so far. They’re set at +150, with England at an even +200 and the 90-minute draw +230. The scoring total is once again 2.5, with the under a narrow favorite at -130.

England Vs. France Prediction & Pick

Is football coming home, or will it remain à la maison? This match will go a long way towards determining the final result of this tournament, as there’s more than a small chance that it ends up producing the eventual winner. England can truly be said to have the deepest, best overall roster in this tournament, and it’s shown at times, like during their comfy 3-0 win over a strong Senegal side. But they’re also managed by a total moron, which has also shown at times, like when they couldn’t find a single goal (or even a truly dangerous chance) against a far less talented USA team. As has been the case this tournament, and in Euro 2020, and in so many other events for this nation that produces so many talented players but can never seem to get to the top, it’s going to be challenging yet crucial for manager Gareth Southgate to get the right XI on the pitch, and then make positive subs as well.
Meanwhile, France are the defending champions, but they don’t quite have the luxury of simply running it back with the same crew. This, of course, is mostly due to injuries to key 2018 players; of the starters from the final match against Croatia, only 5 were in the lineup this week against Poland. Still, the new faces have stepped up in an enormous way, with the likes of Théo Hernandez and Aurélien Tchouaméni turning out to be two of the very best players on the French side. Kylian Mbappé seems to be one of those players who simply lives for the Cup, as he’s been absolutely lights out, and Olivier Giroud has overtaken Thierry Henry for most goals in France history as the Milan striker has been in excellent form in relief of Karim Benzema. This may not be the exact same 11 men that took home the title four years ago, but you’d better believe it’s still a championship-caliber group with plenty of veteran know-how.

While this game should be competitive and closely-fought, I still don’t see the outcome as particularly hard to project; France simply have the experience in these big moments, the brighter stars, and- somewhat embarrassingly for England considering all the last-minute French changes- have exhibited far more fluid team-wide play. I expect them to win in regulation, and I’m also a big fan of the over. I’m not even sure how the under is favored with Mbappé and co. in the fold for france, while the likes of Harry Kane, Buyako Saka, and Jude Bellingham will be creating and scoring goals for the Three Lions. There should be plenty of goals to go around, albeit with a majority being in favor of the French.

Key Matchups

France Attack vs. England Defense

I’ve almost talked about these guys too much already, but as we’ll get into, the defense hasn’t always held up their part of the bargain, so it falls on the attack to keep the team ahead with a steady barrage of goals. Many of those goals, of which there are 9 so far, have come courtesy of Kylian Mbappé, who is once again asserting himself on the biggest stage. He’s scored 5 goals already and assisted two more, and yes you’ve read that right- the 23-year old has contributed in one way or another to 78% of his team’s goals so far in this World Cup, truly stunning stuff. His brace against Denmark, which gifted France with a crucial 2-1 win, was particularly the stuff of legends. He’s hardly alone though, as Olivier Giroud has been in his usual, clinical form and picked up 3 goals as well, while Ousmane Dembélé has struggled to get on the scoresheet, but has opened up space with some good runs and assisted two goals. It’s been mostly those three with the injuries to Benzema and Nkunku, but Kingsley Coman and Marcus Thuram have also provided a spark off of the bench. Antoine Griezmann, technically a midfielder, is also a major contributor in this area, and the scary thing is he hasn’t even been that productive yet- if he catches fire like he’s been known to do for his country, this is a truly unstoppable unit.
In contrast to France, England’s defense has been something of a clean-sheet machine; they’ve not allowed a goal since two late strikes by Iran, after the match had been long decided. 3 of the 4 spots are pretty well decided; the centre-back pairing will certainly be John Stones, who is truly excellent at all times for his country, and Harry Maguire, who often steps it up for his country compared to the club season and has been solid in this tournament. That being said, Maguire’s spot should undoubtedly belong to the far superior Fiyako Tomori, who was inexplicably left off of the squad, perhaps as punishment for his audacity to play in a league that is not the Prem. Nonetheless, the Maguire-Stones pairing has done its job, and Luke Shaw has been and will continue to be a solid presence on the left. The only question is at right-back; in many ways, Kieran Trippier is the better player, but when it comes to the task of limiting Mbappé, Kyle Walker might have to be the man for the job, due largely to the fact that the speedy Walker is one of the few players who just might have enough pace to keep up with Mbappé’s blistering play style. That individual matchup will be key; we don’t really know what France’s attack looks like if Mbappé is pocketed and Benzema injured, but if Walker has anything to say about it, we might just find out.

England Attack vs. France Defense

As much as I like to get into the midfield battle, this game should be pretty end-to-end almost regardless of midfield play, and I do expect both sides to have chances. So, let’s take a look at the other defense-attack pairing, and dig into a French defense that has failed to keep even a single clean sheet as they’ve allowed exactly one goal in each match. That being said, the goal against Poland was a 99th minute penalty in a match that was 3-0, so it’s reasonable to consider that the best performance thus far, a good sign for les bleus going into the mega-match against England. The centre-back pairing has been a bit of a moving target- Raphaël Varane will be there, but while it seemed that manager Didier Deschamps has landed on Dayot Upecameno to round out the duo, there’s a chance he rethinks that after the Bayern man conceded that late penalty against Poland. Ibrahima Konaté could be a replacement, namely because of Deschamps’ puzzling refusal to use Arsenal star William Saliba. The fullback pairing is more solid; Jules Koundé, generally a central defender himself, has been very solid on the right side. Theo Hernández, standing in for his injured brother Lucas, is showing why he is one of the very best players in the whole World, with stunning ability both going forward and in defense. There’s plenty of talent in this area for France, but with the zero clean sheets against lesser competition, there’s reason for concern as they prepare to face a stacked England attacking group.

The centerpiece of that front line is, of course, team captain Harry Kane, who is rounding into form nicely as his side moves towards the biggest matches of the tournament. In the most recent match, he was flanked by a pair of table-topping Prem youngsters. On the right, league-leading Arsenal’s Buyako Saka, and on the left was Phil Foden, who for all his talent often feels nonexistent for second-place Man City, but has performed very well in this tournament, including a pair of assists against Senegal. Other than Kane, however, the most special thing about this position group is its depth. Kane will be at striker of course but the wings are completely open- neither Foden nor Saka has started every match, as the likes of Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling have gotten starts while Jack Grealish is always waiting in the wings, ready for his moment. Sterling had to head back to England to attend to a personal matter, but now he’s back; it’ll be interesting to see if he’s slotted back into the lineup, but even if he’s not there’s several more options. Southgate will have to choose wisely if he wants his attack to get him past the defending World Champions.

From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

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