France will face England in the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Saturday. The Three Lions will need to reduce the impact of PSG forward Kylian Mbappe in the match if they want to advance. They say they already have the perfect plan to stop him.
Mbappe is on everyone's mind. Author of a brilliant start in the World Cup, the Frenchman had another remarkable performance by scoring two goals and providing an assist against Poland
(3-1) in the Round of 16.
However, there is no respite for Les Blues as they'll take on England on Saturday. A reasonably higher-level opponent, at least on paper, England are already preparing the matchup very carefully.
The Independent reports that Gareth Southgate and his coaching staff returned from the Senegal match at 3am. At 9am, the British got up to give a detailed presentation of the France team to the players.
Unsurprisingly, the number one priority of England's master plan should be how to stop Mbappe. That seems to be what has taken the largest part of the England manager's thoughts in the last few days.
England intends to stop Kylian Mbappe with a plan inspired by Lionel Messi
On Wednesday, the local British press analyzed the plan that England intends to put in place to keep an eye on the PSG striker and to hold him tight come Saturday.
According to information leaked on the media outlet, Gareth Southgate's second coach, Steve Holland, has been inspired by a match he knows well: the first leg of the Champions League semi-final between Chelsea and FC Barcelona in April 2012 (1-0).
The former assistant of Jose Mourinho, Roberto Di Matteo, Rafael Benitez, and Antonio Conte places Mbappe in the category of exceptional players like Lionel Messi at the time.
To protect himself from the damage Mbappe might inflict on England, Steve Holland wants to renew the magic recipe that worked to stop Messi that night at Stamford Bridge more than 10 years ago, when the Argentine genius shone.
The England squad believe the best solution to put Mbappe in trouble would run through "pinning him back with England’s own attacking strengths." Sounds cliché.
“There is always a plus and a minus in each case. It's a game of cat and mouse," said Steve Holland. "We will have to deal with him, but we also have to try to exploit the weaknesses that his super strength gives us.”
Now, it remains to be seen who will be the "lucky lad" to be in charge of spending the match next to the Parisian.