Qatar 2022: England have a two-year plan in the making to stop Mbappe and France

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Mbappe and sothgate
© Elsa/Clive Mason/Getty ImagesKylian Mbappe of France and Gareth Southgate of England

In the biggest match ever between them, England and France face off in the quarterfinals of the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Now it’s been confirmed a two-year plan by Gareth Southgate in order to stop Mbappe and the reigning champions.

There has never been a bigger date for one of Europe’s historic rivalries. France and England will meet in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in what should be a match for the ages. The names are downright stellar: Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Harry Kane, Phil Foden or Harry Maguire.

Believe it or not, there aren’t many chapters between these two teams at the World Cup level. England won 2-0 in the final group stage match at Wembley in 1966 and the Three Lions also won 3-1 in Bilbao in the first round of Spain 1982. That’s it. No more episodes and no battles in single elimination games.

France is trying to become only the third national team ever to lift the trophy in two editions: Italy (1934-1938) and Brazil (1958-1962). Meanwhile, England won in 1966 but have not reached the final since. Their best performances were the semi-finals in 1990 and 2018. That’s why this is a key game for Gareth Southgate, and as it turns out, a two-year plan to beat France has been in the making.

What is England’s plan to stop France and Kylian Mbappe?

According to many reports in the UK, there’s been confirmed a two-year plan by England in case France became a possible rival during the World Cup. Though the tournament’s draw was held many months later, Gareth Southgate and his coaching staff knew that, one way or the other, the road to the title had to go through France.

So, as a consequence, the players got the first notice of this plan just one day after their Round of 16 victory against Senegal. There was no time to lose. Tim Dittmer, the FA’s head of coaching, was the person in charge of developing this strategy. Secretly, at least for the players, Dittmer followed every step of Didier Deschamps’ squad. UEFA Euro, World Cup qualifiers, Nations League, club games and, of course, the last matches at Qatar.

Of course, the main focus in the analysis was Kylian Mbappe. The idea, without many details or names revealed, is supposedly to put one marquee player to contain the French star. People inside England’s session said one example used was the duel between Cristiano Ronaldo and Dani Alves during their days at Real Madrid and Barcelona.

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