England vs France LIVE: World Cup 2022 latest team news and build-up amid Ben White exit speculation


England’s World Cup history: From the highs of ‘66 to penalty heartbreak and Qatar 2022

England are continuing to build up to their huge World Cup quarter-final with France in Qatar, with Gareth Southgate’s team training on Friday amid a number of big selection calls.

England have been boosted by the return of Declan Rice to training following illness, while Raheem Sterling is rejoining the squad ahead of Saturday’s quarter-final against the defending champions France.

Southgate will speak to the media at 4pm today and will be certain to be asked how he is preparing his team to face France’s star forward Kylian Mbappe, who has scored five goals at the World Cup so far.

England’s build-up to the France quarter-final comes amid speculation over Ben White’s exit from the World Cup camp. Arsenal defender White left the England squad midway through the tournament, with the FA citing “personal reasons”, but the Daily Star are now reporting that it followed a row with assistant manager Steve Holland.

Follow all the latest World Cup news ahead of England vs France with our live blog, below:


World Cup 2022: England vs France latest news and build-up

If Louis van Gaal is going to win the World Cup, he is going to do it his way

Louis van Gaal had already kissed Denzel Dumfries this week before he turned his attentions to a bemused, amused Memphis Depay. “He doesn’t want a kiss on the mouth, which is a shame, but also nice,” the Netherlands manager said. It was not a case of LVG raising the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in Qatar as much as an example of Van Gaal’s penchant for the unpredictable and capacity to steal the scene.

If Lionel Messi gets his wish, Argentina against the Netherlands might yet be the last game of an epic coaching career that started the year Diego Maradona won the World Cup – or maybe not, given the possibility he will come out of retirement again – and, if it is a farewell tour, Van Gaal’s eccentricities feel ever more pronounced.

Jamie Braidwood9 December 2022 10:15


World Cup 2022: England vs France latest news and build-up

In the build up to Saturday’s huge game, the England squad let themselves be entertained by Robbie Williams at their Al Wakrah Beach hotel.

The former Take That singer performed in Doha on Thursday evening but 24 hours earlier had been serenading the World Cup hopefuls – although Phillips was keeping quiet on which of the players decided to join Williams in action.

“Robbie was here with us last night (Wednesday),” said Kalvin Phillips.

“He was just by the pool and sang us a few songs. It was a really good night. We had the chance to chat to him. He’s an unbelievably talented person but also a really nice person. “He got along with everyone. It was a pleasure to have him. Knowing how big he is in the world and how well he is doing, it’s an honour to have met him and spoken to him.

“There were a couple of duets but I’m not going to name names. They were very good duets to be fair. It was a good night in general. We said farewell to Tony (Conniford, FA head of security) , who is leaving us after nine years. That was quite emotional as well.”

(Getty Images)

Jamie Braidwood9 December 2022 10:00


World Cup 2022: England vs France latest news and build-up

Why Kylian Mbappe and France are better off without Karim Benzema

As England’s staff currently attempt to work out how to stop Kylian Mbappe, there is a very relevant question that’s confounded some around the French squad.

How do you lose the reigning Ballon d’Or winner and become better? How has that made the actual best player in the world become better?

This has been the consequence of Karim Benzema’s tragically unfortunate – but potentially serendipitous – injury. France look much more coherent and combative than at Euro 2020. Mbappe looks like he is now fully forging his own era, something made all the more conspicuous by the fact it is happening in Qatar and he plays for Qatar’s other major sportswashing project at Paris Saint-Germain.

It’s now down to England to stop it, writes Miguel Delaney.

Jamie Braidwood9 December 2022 09:45


World Cup 2022: England vs France latest news and build-up

Kalvin Phillips believes England facing the reigning world champions France is a “massive game” and is ready to play his part – even if he does not end up featuring.

“Every player in this situation is going to want to be on the pitch and play,” he said.”If you’re not, you just do your best to support the boys and when you are involved, hopefully you can play well. I’m just looking forwards to the atmosphere and occasion, as well.

“I’m not playing as much, which can be frustrating but when you look at the players that are playing in front of me and how well they are playing, I can’t really argue.”

Phillips revealed that in a meeting before the finals, England had held a half-hour long meeting where they discussed the approach of France, as well as other international teams and club sides who have won trophies recently.

“It was a 25-30 minute meeting that we went through about our identity, how we wanted to play and how we wanted to progress in the tournament,” he said. “We have hit those marks and we are doing really well at the moment. Hopefully we can keep it going.”

(Getty Images)

Jamie Braidwood9 December 2022 09:30


World Cup 2022: England vs France latest news and build-up

Here are some of the best moments of the World Cup so far, as nominated by The Independent’s writers.

World Cup: The best moments so far

Amid controversy and continued human rights concerns surrounding Fifa and Qatar off the pitch, it’s been an exhilarating ride so far on it

Jamie Braidwood9 December 2022 09:15


Kalvin Phillips admits it is “frustrating” to have had a bit-part role in England’s quest for World Cup glory having been so pivotal to the team in their run to the Euro 2020 final.

“I’m still enjoying it and having loads of fun,” he said. “I’ve just got to keep working hard and make sure I get fitter and fitter throughout the weeks I’ve been training, and when I come on try and make that impact or try and be as solid as I possibly can to help the team.

“But, in regards to playing in the Euros, it’s a little bit frustrating knowing that I’ve not played as many minutes but I just remind myself I’ve come very far to be in this position after the operation and I’m still trying to build up my fitness even now and, obviously, when given a chance I can build on that as well.

“The lads have been great with me – you do get frustrated but you have got to look at the bigger picture, and the bigger picture is how the team progresses and how you can play that little role in the team every single day and I’m prepared to do that.”

(Getty Images)

Jamie Braidwood9 December 2022 09:00


England have reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar as hope builds that Gareth Southgate’s side can go further than they did in Russia four years ago.

Key to that will be Saturday’s crunch clash with defending champions France in the last eight, with Kylian Mbappe set to provide England their biggest test of the World Cup so far after his five goals in four games.

Amid a chaotic group stage in Qatar, England’s progress to a last-16 meeting with Senegal was relatively straightforward. Despite being booed off following a 0-0 draw with the USA, England topped Group B thanks to convincing victories over Iran and Wales. From there, England overcame an uncertain start to sweep Senegal aside and book their place in the quarter-finals.

England have so far used 20 players during their World Cup campaign and throughout the tournament, The Independent has been recording their performances in our player ratings. Players are given a score between 0 and 10 based on their display within the match. As a guide, players begin the match as a 5 and are then scored up or down accordingly. While this process is of course subjective, it means a 6 should be viewed as a good score!

Ahead of the quarter-finals, we have collated the ratings England’s players have received through their first four games. So, who’s standing out and who’s struggling to make the grade? Here’s how England’s players have rated at the World Cup so far:

Jamie Braidwood9 December 2022 08:45


World Cup 2022: England vs France latest news and build-up

England have to find a way to halt France star Kylian Mbappe but Kieran Trippier has underlined the importance of also foiling former neighbour and team-mate Antoine Griezmann.

The reigning World Cup champions provide a tough obstacle for Gareth Southgate’s men to overcome at Al Bayt Stadium in Saturday evening’s quarter-final.

Given it is an even-looking clash that could be decided on a moment of magic, much of the pre-match talk has surrounded the importance of shackling Golden Boot leader Mbappe in Al Khor.

But France’s squad is awash with talent and Trippier has highlighted the threat of his former Atletico Madrid team-mate Griezmann, who has played 71 consecutive games for the national team.

Jamie Braidwood9 December 2022 08:30


World Cup 2022: England vs France latest news and build-up

‘I always knew I’d find form’: Harry Maguire repays Gareth Southgate’s faith with exemplary World Cup displays

After losing his place at Manchester United, Harry Maguire has rediscovered confidence and focus in the heart of England’s defence.

Maguire also says there is belief that the Three Lions can now go further than 2018 in Qatar, writes Mark Critchley.

Jamie Braidwood9 December 2022 08:15


World Cup 2022: England vs France latest news and build-up

England have been boosted by the return of Declan Rice to training ahead of the World Cup quarter-final against France.

The West Ham captain is a major part of Gareth Southgate’s side, playing a key role in last year’s run to the European Championship final and starting all four matches so far in Qatar.

Rice is among the first names on the team sheet so the midfielder’s absence from training on Wednesday at England’s Al Wakrah training base caused alarm.

The 23-year-old felt unwell but fellow midfielder Kalvin Phillips confirmed he returned in Thursday’s session, which was held behind closed doors.

“I believe Dec is fit, he’s back in training and he’s fine,” the Manchester City man said.

“If something goes wrong then I’ll be there and I’ll do my best to be fit for 90 minutes. I want to play as many minutes as possible. Regardless of whether Dec is playing or I am, we’ll do our best.”

Declan Rice is back in training (Nick Potts/PA)

(PA Wire)

Jamie Braidwood9 December 2022 08:01

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