FIFA World Cup 2022: The England football team on Sunday defeated the African champions Senegal in the Round of 16 match to cruise into the last 8. Gareth Southgate's men outclassed Aliou Cissé's troops in a one-sided affair in Al Bayt Stadium by 3-0. After the victory, the three lions are now set to lock horns against the defending champions France in the quarterfinal and the English coach acknowledged the power of the French team.
Ahead of the last 8 clash, Southgate stated that France are the greatest challenge the team may face in the FIFA World Cup 2022. "France are the biggest test we could face. They’re world champions with a great depth of talent and extraordinary individual players. They’re very difficult to play against and score goals against, so it’s a fantastic test and a brilliant game to prepare for,” Southgate said as quoted by Skysports.
Apart from England vs France, Lionel Messi's Argentina is also gearing up for the last 8 challenge against Virgil van Dijk's Netherlands and Southgate states both the matches are historic. "The two quarter-final matches that are already in place are historic rivalries. It’s a great match to be involved with and to test ourselves against the very best,” Southgate said.
Southgate also acknowledged the robust forward line of the French team. Mbappe is a world-class player. He has delivered on big occasions in the tournament and in previous events too. Griezmann is a phenomenal player, we know Giroud so well and France have an outstanding midfield too. It is a huge test but one we are looking forward to," he added. The 52-year-old also stated that his team has invested well in the youngsters and when they get matured, they perform brilliantly. Referring to midfielder Jude Bellingham, Southgate said, "We have done great work with young players over the years but the thing that makes the difference is the mindset. the drive and desire to learn. He has all of that."