Today in world football, England and France are household names given the consistent good quality of the countries. It is, therefore, only fitting that the two European giants are rivals, especially when it comes to the world cup. The two teams have met twice at FIFA World Cup. England wins on both occasions, first at the 1966 group stage. If you want to know about Is Goncalo Ramos Cristiano’s perfect replacement?, click here.
England went on to win the trophy that year. The second time was at the 1982 World Cup; England won 3-1 but was eliminated in the second group stage. Generally, in their 31 previous meetings, England holds the upper hand, with 17 wins compared to France’s nine.
However, 10 of those victories were before 1950. England has lost four times and won twice this century.
A 56-year drought
England has qualified for the World Cup 16 times but has won the trophy just once, in 1966. Their best other performance is finishing fourth in both 1990 and 2018 in Russia. The three Lions, the oldest national team in the history of football, have somehow seemed to struggle through different eras, despite having world-class in their squad most of the time.
In the recent past, most coaches for the English side have struggled to select their squads due to being spoiled for choice, but somehow no English squad has been able to end the drought. England scored 12 goals in four games at this year’s World Cup in Qatar. The joint most at a major tournament, matching their 2018 World Cup ran in Russia when they reached the semi-finals.
Apart from their barren draw against the United States, England has been dominant at this World Cup, conceding only two goals so far. They are now set to battle France in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
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Can France join Brazil and Italy as the only countries to win consecutive World Cups?
For France, their Saturday matchup against England is not just a chance to make the semi-finals. It is also an opportunity to become just the 3rd country to win back-to-back trophies. For French coach Didier Deschamps, it is a chance to join Italy’s former manager, Vittorio Pozzo, as the only two managers to win multiple World Cups.
The French are the first reigning champions to reach the World Cup quarter-finals since Brazil in 2006. Spain and Germany suffered group-stage exits in 2014 and 2018. So far in Qatar, Les Bleus have been an intimidating side demolishing the opposition. But can they surpass a formidable English side as they try to defend their coveted championship?
Can England finally end their World Cup drought?