England v France: a heavyweight contest to define the Southgate era

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World Cup knockout games are devastatingly brutal in their finality but at least this showdown looks intriguingly poised

Darkness falls quickly in Qatar. The night steals in like a kidnapper, wrapping its shroud around the desert like a bag over the head. Sunsets barely last long enough to choose an Instagram filter. On Saturday evening, either England or France will also discover that in these parts, oblivion descends with a devastating brutality.

Come 10pm local time, what has gone before will cease to matter. To the loser, the ruthless and often scintillating football that brought them to this quarter-final will be of no consolation at all. One of Harry Kane or Kylian Mbappé is a fraud. One of Didier Deschamps or Gareth Southgate is a moron. One of Declan Rice or Aurélien Tchouaméni is about to be “painfully exposed at this level”. Either the Football Association needs to take a long hard look at its French counterpart, or vice versa. Two hours of football decides the lot. Sorry, that’s just the way it goes.

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Written by Jonathan Liew in Doha
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2022/dec/09/england-v-france-a-heavyweight-contest-to-define-the-southgate-era under the title “England v France: a heavyweight contest to define the Southgate era”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.