Thursday, 2 February, 2023

Deschamps warns England of Mbappe threat

France coach Didier Deschamps is confident Kylian Mbappe can still make the difference in tonight's World Cup quarter-final showdown with England even if the opposition put their focus on stopping the superstar forward.

Mbappe is the top scorer at the tournament with five goals in four games, including a brace in the 3-1 win over Poland in the last 16, and England will need to find a way of countering the Paris Saint-Germain striker.

But the holders have formidable quality around Mbappe, with Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann all impressing in Qatar too.

"I imagine England will take measures like our four previous opponents did but Kylian has the ability to make the difference," Deschamps told reporters on Friday ahead of the clash at Al Bayt Stadium in the desert north of Doha.

"But Kylian will always be Kylian, with the ability to be decisive at any moment."

The pressure is intensifying for both sides, but Deschamps has won the World Cup as a player and a coach and the 54-year-old encouraged France not to let the occasion get the better of them.

"As is the case for us and all teams who reach the knockouts, you don't have a second chance," he admitted.

France goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris -- who has spent nearly a decade in the Premier League with Tottenham -- was full of praise for Gareth Southgate's England.

"If you look at the English squad they have more players here who were in Russia than France do," said the 35-year-old, who is set to win his 143rd cap and overtake Lilian Thuram as his country's all-time record appearance maker.