World Cup 2022 news LIVE: Brazil win reaction and early team news ahead of England vs France quarter-final

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England have nothing to fear against France, says Bukayo Saka

England have a few days now to recover and prepare for a massive quarter-final tie with France at the World Cup 2022, with the match taking place on Saturday night.

Before then, Gareth Southgate has a number of decisions to make, including whether to change formation to combat the threat of the in-form Kylian Mbappe, who now leads the Golden Boot race in Qatar.

The Three Lions are ready for such a test though, the manager believes, and they’ll all be big games now anyway as the finals reach the last-eight stage. Brazil football are also through after they hammered South Korea, with Argentina, Netherlands and Croatia also through. Spain play Morocco and Portugal face Switzerland on Tuesday in the last of the round of 16 clashes.

Follow all the build-up to England vs France and reaction to Brazil’s big win:

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Gareth Southgate believes ahead of England’s true test of how far they have come

England’s last meeting with France came in Saint-Denis five years ago, in what was only Gareth Southgate’s eighth game in charge. The world champions in waiting went down to 10 men that night – Raphael Varane seeing red at the start of the second half, when the score was still level at 2-2 – and a formative, character-building win briefly appeared on the cards. Yet even then, Didier Deschamps’ side deservedly came out on top through an Ousmane Dembélé winner.

It was an entertaining end-of-season friendly with little riding on the result but the defeat and failure to make the most of the man advantage demonstrated how far England had to go before they could be considered among the very best in the international game. “There is no magic wand,” their manager warned. And yet just a year later, had a few things gone differently, their next meeting might have come in a World Cup final.

The pace of progression under Southgate since that evening in the Parisian banlieues has been rapid. If that much was not already clear from England’s results, it is reinforced by a glance at the team sheet from the 3-2 defeat.

Mark Critchley looks into England’s upturn in fortunes ahead of the meeting with France:

Karl Matchett6 December 2022 08:40

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Japan’s fairytale run finally runs out of road

Japan have never made it past the last-16 at a World Cup. Failures at 2002 and 2010 still stung when 2018 became the most heartbreaking of all, Nacer Chadli’s latest of late goals seeing Belgium roar back from two down in the second half to beat them at the last.

The pain of that night in Rostov has lived with this Japanese group ever since. “I have never forgotten,” Yuto Nagatomo would say in the build-up to this latest attempt to write new history. He will remember this, too.

Instead it was the same old story, the fairytale this side has been on at this World Cup brutally ended in the most painful fashion possible by Croatia, a bitter final chapter the uplifting tale that came before it didn’t remotely deserve.

Ben Burrows watched on as the World Cup’s first game went the distance:

Karl Matchett6 December 2022 08:30

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Brazil put on spectacular exhibition to delight World Cup and reach quarter-finals

It was a game that was basically over as a contest by seven minutes, but that you couldn’t take your eyes off for a second. That was because you might miss Brazil doing something spectacular, audacious or just the sort of moment that makes World Cup highlights for years and has fostered the country’s football lore.

It might have been a Vinicius lift, a Neymar roll or a Raphinha turn – or it could have been many such moments combining for goal after goal after goal, after goal. Qatar certainly got what they wanted in that sense, even if not enough people wanted to watch it given the number of empty seats at Stadium 974.

It didn’t take long for this 4-1 win over South Korea to become a replica of the sort of gaudy exhibition match the state had staged well before hosting a World Cup. If you bring them, some people might come. There was at least no risk in restoring Neymar to the starting XI, since this was just another training game. Tite even got to the point where he was giving squad players like sub goalkeeper Weverton a run-out, as if it was a final group game.

There were some more solemn sentiments, mind, as Neymar carried a Pele flag onto the pitch for the players to showcase.

Miguel Delaney took in Brazil’s big win over South Korea on Monday night:

Karl Matchett6 December 2022 08:18

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