Former England players Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand have said Gareth Southgate’s team should “absolutely not” be scared of World Cup quarter-final opponents France.
England’s 3-0 win over Senegal and France’s 3-1 victory against Poland set up a blockbuster quarter-final that will be eagerly anticipated.
Speaking on the BBC ahead of the last-16 game between Japan and Croatia, Shearer was adamant that England have nothing to be scared of against France.
“They should be full of confidence, it was almost perfect. First 20-25 minutes they found things difficult, had to rely on a brilliant save by the goalkeeper but then after that, I thought it was superb.
“The manager deserves great credit, he’s made big decisions again in his team selection. They’ve worked for him again. Respect France, admire France yes. Fear them? Absolutely not. Let them fear us, let them look at us and think ‘wow the options England have’”
It was put to Shearer that France have one very dangerous player in PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe.
Image credit: Imago
Shearer replied: “Yeah, he’s very good but we’ve got some very good players in attacking positions, not only who are going to start but also who can come on and change the game if needs be. So let France fear England rather than the other way around.”
Ex-England defender Ferdinand was asked what had impressed him the most against Senegal.
“The calmness, the confidence. They looked like they expected to get through,” he said.
“Any type of situation that arises, it doesn’t unsettle them. They ride that wave, they get through it and then they punish them.”
Ferdinand was asked whether the injuries France have suffered should change the way England play.
“Yeah, even more, go out on the front foot and go and put it on this French team.
“We’ve watched them, and respect to France, but I don’t think they are as good a team as this England team.”
The game will take place at the Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday December 10 at 19:00 GMT.
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