Gareth Southgate's England team head into their third straight major tournament Quarter-Final for the first time in their history and play World Cup holders France for a place in the Final Four of the greatest football tournament of the global game.

A comprehensive 3-0 win over Senegal with Jude Bellingham in the starring role again made light work of The African Nations Champions with goals from Jordan Henderson, Captain Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka to send The Three Lions through victorious:

France, meanwhile, brushed Poland aside with a superlative display from their main man Kylian Mbappe who scored a brilliant brace and former Arsenal and Chelea striker Olivier Giroud became France's All-Time Top Scorer scoring his 52nd goal for Les Bleus:

That sets up a potentially mouth-watering clash between Didier Deschamps' World Champions, who are chasing a second World Cup crown and Southgate's England, who are desperate for their first major tournament success since the famous win at Wembley in 1966 when Sir Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick to defeat Germany 4-2:

Both sides are emanating confidence for different reasons - for France it is that 2018 World Cup win that gives them the swagger of Champions when they get going and for England it is the Semi-Final at Russia in the same year, The Three Lions' first in a World Cup for 38 years, and making the Final of Euro 2020 in 2021 only to lose cruelly on pens but going deep in tournaments is becoming a national habit and the next step is victory.

France have also lost a Euros Final on home soil recently - the 2016 tournament to Portugal, who looked electric thrashing an illness-hit Switzerland as Benfica star Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick mid-week yet don't forget it was the Swiss who dumped the French out of Euro 2020 in The Last 16 5-4 on penalties after a 3-3 draw.

For all the hype surrounding Mbappe, the France squad has been decimated by injury in the run up to the tournament with key men Balon D'or winner Karim Benzema and the heart of the 2018-Winning midfield Paul Pogba and N'golo Kante all missing and while Rabiot and co have stepped up, questions remain about their true top-level stature.

Yet the French's weakest link is a name known well to Premier League fans - 35 year-old Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who has enjoyed an excellent career as keeper for clubs Lyon and Spurs and country but has always had a big mistake in his locker & has become no less than a liability this season in both the Premier League and Champions League and represents a chink in the France armour England can exploit:

Current team-mates Harry Kane and Eric Dier and former teammate Kieron Trippier know all too well that Lloris has a kamikaze penchant for rushing off his line that the England attack can benefit from if they can tease him out of his box and into no-man's land as England & Newcastle's Callum Wilson did to score against him in late October:

Notoriously, Lloris dropped a howler in The World Cup Final of 2018 against Croatia when Mandzukic pressed and forced a Lloris clearance into error into his own net but the French were already 4 goals to the good so were able to withstand the mistake.

Don't forget also that France were handed a big advantage for the penalty for the crucial second goal of that final in the shape of the controversial handball penalty against Ivan Perisic that doubled the French lead, one of a string of decisions when VAR intervened for the eventual winners throughout its first use in a major tournament from the soft penalty against Argentina in Les Bleu's first game to that decision in the final:

So England need to be on their guard against any dodgy referee machinations still lingering from Michael Platini's tarnished time in the upper echelons of the world game.

England Have The Best Attack, Best Defence & Best Midfielder in The World

Gareth Southgate's Three Lions go into the historic Quarter-Final - the first time England have met France in the knock-out stage of The World Cup - with momentum building in the tournament after a sensational 6-2 start against Iran, a misstep against USA then emphatic wins against Wales and Senegal to send terror into the hearts of their opponents as the best team emerging from the group stage:

And unlike France, Argentina and Brazil, who went out today on penalties to Croatia, England have remained unbeaten, have kept the most clean sheets and have the highest number of different scorers - eight so far - in the tournament so are the team to beat.

Or to beat others as that is their task now and what Southgate is determined to do having learned his lesson from Russia 2018 and The Euros and has vowed to keep his Three Lions side on the front foot and go for the jugular of the opposition, saying:

“There is no point going into a game like this and just covering up and sitting on the ropes. We believe we can cause problems with the ball and we intend to do that. We’ve beaten some big teams. We know we have the experience of high pressure nights behind us and as a team we’ve been resilient through a lot of situations, but they all prepare you for nights like this,”
“We got to the first final for 55 years. We’ve won a semi-final and been to a semi-final of the World Cup before.
“But, of course, it is a big game against a high quality opponent. Everything that has happened in the past is history, it all comes down to Saturday night.”

Southgate spoke of an "embarrassment of riches" before the Senegal match about the tremendously array of attacking talent at his disposal and a makeshift France defence & midfield won't be able to handle the likes of Phil Foden, Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish and Callum Wilson on top form with the England manager possessing the luxury of bombarding opponents with equally good fresh faces & legs not to mention the game-changing Star Boy Jude Bellingham who is England's not-so-secret weapon now who will inspire and fire The Three Lions to victory:

If Southgate's tactics embody the Three Lions' rapacious hunger for victory then the developing killer instinct in the squad will be the factor that takes England all the way

Prediction - England 4 France 2

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