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England’s conundrum: How do you cease the unstoppable Kylian Mbappé?

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AL RAYYAN, Qatar – Kyle Walker didn’t mince phrases when he was requested concerning the activity at hand this week.

Walker’s England staff performs France on Saturday at Al Bayt Stadium (2 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports activities app) in what’s projected to be a World Cup quarterfinal for the ages between European powers. France is striving to develop into the primary staff in 60 years to win consecutive World Cups, however to do this, Les Bleus should beat an English staff that is discovering its rhythm.

France’s main weapon is one everyone is aware of – 23-year-old GOAT-in-waiting, Kylian Mbappé

The younger Paris Saint-Germain striker is the most effective participant on the planet proper now and at present leads the Golden Boot race with 5 objectives (and two assists) in 4 video games at this World Cup. His tally is 9 objectives in underneath two full World Cups, which is only one lower than Lionel Messi has (he scored his tenth on Friday) and yet another than Cristiano Ronaldo, each of whom are greater than 10 years older and taking part in of their fifth World Cup.

England vs. France quarterfinal preview

An enormous query for England heading into this knockout match is, how do you cease the unstoppable Mbappé?

“The sport just isn’t England vs. Mbappé, the sport is England vs. France,” mentioned Walker, who begins at proper again and could have the duty of carefully marking Mbappé. “We respect that he is a great participant in good type on the minute. However I am not going to roll out a pink carpet for him and inform him to go and rating. I am representing my nation on the quarterfinal on the World Cup. It is do-or-die, actually. If we lose, we go residence.

“He is not going to face in my method in hopefully profitable a World Cup for my nation.”

[England vs. France: 5 matchups that will decide quarterfinal]

Walker, who performs for Manchester Metropolis, has performed towards Mbappé earlier than within the Champions League. He is 2-1 towards him and Mbappé solely scored as soon as in these conferences.

“Kyle is essentially the most constant proper again there’s been for the final 10 years or so,” England captain Harry Kane mentioned. “He is improved by means of his profession and is taking part in on the highest stage I believe he is ever performed.

“There’s plenty of discuss of Kyle and Kylian, however he’ll do his job like he is at all times accomplished. With the ball, with out the ball, he’ll be prepared. I believe he is top-of-the-line defenders there may be.”

Added Walker: “I do perceive what I have to do and that is clearly to cease him.”

Simpler mentioned than accomplished, in fact. French midfielder Youssouf Fofana needs him luck.

“Hats off to him,” Fofana mentioned through the Guardian. “If he can cease Kylian then good for him. There are 19 different groups within the French league [Ligue 1] which are ready for the reply on tips on how to cease Kylian.

“The reality is on the pitch. We’ll see what occurs on Saturday. As a Frenchman, all of us consider in Kylian.”

Kylian Mbappe scores dazzling aim

Walker took a little bit of offense to being requested about Mbappé, noting France has a staff stuffed with world-class expertise so England cannot get slowed down by focusing an excessive amount of on one participant.

“We will not underestimate these gamers which have gained large titles, gained large cups,” Walker mentioned. “He is an ideal participant, everyone knows that. That is why all of the questions are about him, however let’s not neglect [Olivier] Giroud, who scored numerous objectives for France and within the Premier League.

“[Ousmane] Dembele who, for me, is simply nearly as good on the opposite wing, is a really tough participant. Then you definately’ve obtained [Antoine] Griezmann and stuff like this. These gamers could cause issues. 

“We take our hat off to [Mbappé]. He is a good participant. For me, all of the questions should not be about him.”

English supervisor Gareth Southgate mentioned one thing comparable as he fielded a number of questions on Mbappé the night time earlier than the match. He mentioned French supervisor Didier Deschamps has created “a staff that’s stronger than the people.”

That is likely to be the fitting factor for a coach to say, however after France beat Poland within the Spherical of 16, and Mbappé scored two objectives and had the help on Giroud’s record-breaking aim, Deschamps mentioned, “Kylian could make a distinction on his personal in a match.”

So, as England watches movie and prepares to face a generational expertise in Mbappé, what particularly can it do to cease him? 

“I believe it is the identical as each place on the sphere,” Southgate mentioned. “You have got 10 one towards one battles on the sphere. However then everyone else round these particular person battles has to assist their teammate, and you have to work collectively to have the ability to cease any participant like that.

“In fact, there is a duty on his direct opponents, and we’re prepared for that, prepared for the element of that. However then you need to anticipate the identical for our forwards. If our forwards get previous certainly one of their defenders, there’s obtained to be cowl, and it could be the identical on our staff. So you have to work the areas of the pitch to ensure that there’s good protection and assist for each participant on the pitch.

“Easy as that.”

Kylian Mbappe scores aim vs. Denmark

Mbappé was a youngster on the World Cup 4 years in the past, a relative unknown to a world soccer viewers. Now, everybody is aware of him and everybody needs a chunk of him. However his teammates say he is not studying something within the press whereas in Qatar.

The truth is, he is so centered and decided that he skipped postgame interviews in the course of the group stage. After being named Man of the Match within the victory over Poland, he got here to the information convention and apologized to reporters for his absences. It was nothing private, he mentioned.

“I simply wanted to deal with the event and my soccer,” Mbappé mentioned. “And once I need to think about one thing, that is the best way I perform.”

He shrugs off discuss profitable the Golden Boot or Golden Ball, too.

“If I win, I will be completely satisfied,” Mbappé mentioned. “However that is not why I am right here. I am right here to win the World Cup.”

And England is right here to try to cease that from taking place.

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Laken Litman covers school soccer, school basketball and soccer for FOX Sports activities. She beforehand wrote for Sports activities Illustrated, USA In the present day and The Indianapolis Star. She is the creator of “Robust Like a Girl,” revealed in spring 2022 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX. Comply with her on Twitter @LakenLitman.

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