Gareth Southgate: “When you look at France closely, there is talent in every position.”

Speaking after England’s 3-0 victory against Senegal, manager Gareth Southgate sought to highlight the collective strength of quarter-final opponents France. 

The two sides will meet for the first time in a major tournament knockout match on Saturday, having overcome their respective Round of 16 opponents. In a scenario perfectly predicted by President Emmanuel Macron, Les Bleus overcame Poland 3-1 earlier on Sunday. Olivier Giroud’s record-breaking goal was followed by two Kylian Mbappé finishes that not only puts him top of the goal-scoring charts in this tournament but also sees him edge closer to Just Fontaine’s World Cup goal-scoring record for France. 

Later on Sunday, England ensured their progression with a comfortable 3-0 win against Senegal with Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka getting the goals. In a post-match interview, transcribed by L’ÉquipeSouthgate sought to highlight France’s quality across the pitch. “[France] will be our biggest test. They are the holders of the title, the champions of the world and they have an incredible number of individual talents to call upon. It will be an incredible match to prepare for, that’s our challenge,” the England manager began.

He continued, “As for Kylian Mbappé, he is a world-class player. He has already delivered high-quality performances in other tournaments of this level. But I think that Antoine Griezmann has more than 100 caps (113) and he is phenomenal as well. We know Olivier Giroud very well. In the midfield, there are young players that are doing incredible things. When you look at France closely, there is talent in every position. It is a big test for us to face.”

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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