Ahead of their World Cup quarter-final against France, England have a problem to solve – how to prevent the tournament’s top scorer, Kylian Mbappé, from adding to their tally.
Mbappé has been in sensational form in Qatar, scoring five goals in four games – two more than any other player.
This included a brace in their match against Poland in the Round of 16. He first scored with a resounding strike into the top left corner of the net, then followed with a curling effort into the opposite side.
But the 23-year-old showed more than just clinical finishing at the World Cup, terrorizing opponents with his phenomenal speed and ability to get behind the defensive line.
England may have an answer to Mbappé’s blistering pace:
Kyle Walker has long been considered one of the quickest full-backs in football, and the Manchester City star is set to line up against the float-toed Frenchman on Saturday.
Indeed, the former England striker Gary Lineker went so far as to suggest Walker should have been rested against Senegal in the round of 16, protecting the defender from potential injury before facing Mbappé.
One option for England manager Gareth Southgate would be to deploy five defenders against France, with Walker operating as a right centre-back. Otherwise, he could stick with the back-four formation that worked so well in the 3-0 win over Senegal.
At the end of the line : Data provider Nielsen have defending champions France as favorites by the slimmest of margins, giving them a 51% chance of winning.
It will be an intriguing encounter at the Al Bayt Stadium, pitting two of the most successful teams in the World Cup against each other.