Cape Town – England secured a dominant 3-0 last-16 win over Senegal on Sunday to book their place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
Gareth Southgate’s charges look to have fixed up many of the holes that haunted them in the months leading up to the World Cup, which included defeats to Hungary.
They sailed to wins over Wales, Iran and Senegal with the 0-0 draw against the USA being the only game they did not win.
One of the stars for England and perhaps their best player has been midfielder Jude Bellingham. The 19-year-old delivered a man-of-the-match performance against Senegal, dictating play from the middle of the park and was simply unplayable. Had it not been for him, the Lions of Teranga would have likely been more competitive in the game.
There is little doubt that Bellingham will be one of the hottest properties in world football after the World Cup as clubs will come circling in full-swing. Borussia Dortmund will stand to gain a substantial amount of money over his sale as they did for selling Erling Haaland to Manchester City at the end of last season.
England’s next game is a tough quarter-final against Fdefending champions rance. With respect to the USA, Iran and Senegal, this game will be a stronger test than any of the matches that Southgate’s men have played so far.
The likes of Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe have been combining lethally and should England be guilty of defensive calamities which do impact them from time to time, they will be in for serious trouble.
Overall, though Bellingham is probably the player from the England team that France should be fearing the most. He has been the difference so far between a solid England team and an unpredictable, but good Three Lions side which they have been in recent World Cup campaigns.
France will go in as favourites due to having more squad depth, but England will also have their chances. The French are not a high-pressing team, which means they will allow England to have possession which they can capitalise upon.
However, should the English make defensive mistakes, the ball will find its way to Mbappe and they will be in trouble.