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Laura Woods ‘believes’ in Three Lions as Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane and Kyle Walker tipped to stun Kylian Mbappe’s Blues in World Cup quarter-final


England face their biggest test since Italy’s visit to Wembley, with France standing on their way to a place in the last four at the World Cup.

The reigning world champions are aiming to become the team since Brazil in 1962 to win back-to-back World Cups, while England are determined to get their hands on the trophy again, 56 years after the last time.

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It’s England v France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup

Woods and McCoist are among the talkSPORT presenters to have their say

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Woods and McCoist are among the talkSPORT presenters to have their say

It’s Kylian Mbappe versus Kyle Walker, Harry Kane versus Raphael Varane and Jude Bellingham going head to head with Antoine Griezmann. Who will triumph – live on talkSPORT?

Here, the best of talkSPORT make their predictions.

Laura Woods: talkSPORT Breakfast host – England will win

A huge quarter-final. Despite the fact that it will be the biggest test for this English team under Gareth Southgate, I have great faith in this English team.

I think they play with a lot of confidence and unity, even more than what we saw at the Euros.

I know everyone is expecting goals because the defense is probably the weakest part of these two teams, but I think it will be a bit more cautious than that.

I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think we’ll see as much fluid football as we’d like. I hope Harry Maguire has a good game and Kyle Walker shuts down Kylian Mbappe and I think England could do it – I believe in it!

Mbappe vs Walker should be one of the game's key battles

Mbappe vs Walker should be one of the game’s key battles

Which English player impressed you the most?

I know everyone will say Jude Bellingham and I totally agree, but Phil Foden really impressed me. He may not have shone in an England shirt before, especially not in the way we know from watching this Man City side, so he’s definitely impressed. The same goes for Marcus Rashford and our substitutes on the bench – being able to have five could be the biggest difference against France. The bench is phenomenal.

Prediction: England 2-1 France

Rashford was England's hero against Wales

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Rashford was England’s hero against Wales

Stuart Pearce: England legend and talkSPORT commentator – England will win

I can’t wait to play. For me, the difference will be which defense best manages the opposing forward line.

Which English player impressed you the most?

It’s easy to say Jude Bellingham and one or two others but I’m going for Harry Maguire. He entered the tournament without much support from the outside world about his inclusion in the squad and squad. But he was arguably one of our most consistent players. Playing under so much pressure takes work, the manager backed him up and was right to do so. If he has another solid game, we could be in the semis.

Prediction: England 2-1 France (in extra time)

L'Equipe claim Maguire is England's main attacking threat

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L’Equipe claim Maguire is England’s main attacking threat

Ally McCoist: talkSPORT breakfast host and Scottish 1990 World Cup striker

I’m looking forward to the game, but it’s so hard to call. There isn’t much between the two teams and if I was going to be brutally honest, these are two teams that I think would do well at the start of the tournament.

I think the wide areas are where games will be won and lost and I don’t necessarily mean Kylian Mbappe and Kyle Walker because the other side will be equally important in Ousmane Dembele and Luke Shaw. In those wide areas, England could pose problems for the French and I think England are better in midfield, which I know is a nice statement. But I think Jude Bellingham was excellent, as were Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice.

Which English player impressed you the most?

Harry Maguire was very consistent, but Jordan Pickford did everything he was asked with some great saves in key moments. However, Jude Bellingham is obvious and gives something special.

Prediction: Penalties – so it’s anyone

Bellingham scored and assisted for England at the World Cup in a thrilling display of his skills

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Bellingham scored and assisted for England at the World Cup in a thrilling display of his skills

Alan Brazil: talkSPORT Breakfast host and former Scottish international

I think it’s very close, it’ll most likely go to penalties – I have no idea who’s going to have the bottle to take them. It wouldn’t surprise me if England failed if they went on penalties. But with the type of form England are in, Jude Bellingham has been brilliant from top to bottom, or maybe a Harry Maguire free-kick could win him over – he’s been terrific so far.

It could be anyone on penalties, maybe Jordan Pickford could be the star. It could just be down to the goalkeepers, who are lucky and who make the saves.

Which English player impressed you the most?

I hope Harry Kane shows up and of course Jude Bellingham was fantastic, but maybe it’s Declan Rice’s turn to shine.

Prediction: Penalties – it’s anyone

Brazil believes Rice will have key role to play in quashing French threat

Brazil believes Rice will have key role to play in quashing French threat

Gabby Agbonlahor: talkSPORT host and Aston Villa’s top scorer in the Premier League

Ousmane Dembele, for me, will be France’s star player, but England have something about him now where they have a big group of players. Their team spirit is high so England can definitely win.

Who impressed you the most?

For me, it must be Bukayo Saka. I’m not too sure, back side, France are great. Theo Hernandez plays as a left-back and he hasn’t been a great defender, so I think Saka will shine and use his speed. He is in good shape and still in contention for the golden shoe.

Prediction: England 1-0 France

Everybody loves Saka

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Everybody loves Saka

Ray Parlor: Arsenal Invincible and former England international

Everyone will be watching Kylian Mbappe but I think we can handle it. I think England must be really worried about Antoine Griezmann. It goes into their pockets and it could make the difference for France. But, I will draw 90 minutes with England to possibly score a goal in extra time.

Which English player impressed you the most?

For me, it must be Harry Kane. He scored his first goal in the tournament against Senegal and he will definitely score again against France.

Prediction: England 2-1 France (overtime)

Kane scored his first goal at this World Cup against Senegal

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Kane scored his first goal at this World Cup against Senegal

Jim White: talkSPORT host

There is so much emphasis on Mbappe. We spoke to Lille defender Jose Fonte, who defended against him on several occasions and told us ‘You never know what you’re going to get’. He will be a box of tricks, just like Antoine Griezmann. But the Mbappe factor is important and, although I think England will score, France will shadow it.

Which English player impressed you the most?

Jude Bellingham. I was at every England group stage game and watched it closely. I had already seen him in action quite a while ago at The Den when he played for Birmingham against Millwall. He was exceptional and I thought ‘God, we have a major prospect here.’ He has just shone at the World Cup and is the name on everyone’s lips, as evidenced by the PSG owner saying everyone would want him, including them.

Prediction: England 1-2 France

talkSPORT World Cup 2022 coverage

talkSPORT brings you comprehensive coverage of the 2022 World Cup.

We broadcast all 64 matches of the tournament live, with over 600 hours of coverage on our network.

You can tune into talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 via our free online streaming service at talkSPORT.com.

talkSPORT is widely available across the UK via DAB digital radio and on 1089 or 1053 AM.

You can also download the talkSPORT app or ask your smart speaker to play talkSPORT.



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