Mon 05 December 2022 | 8:49

Southgate: France is the biggest test we could face

England beat Senegal 3-0 on Sunday and will now face reigning champions France in the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals.

Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane, and Bukayo Saka all scored for England against


in the last 16 round.

The 19-year-old Jude Bellingham played a key role for


and the 22-year-old Phil Foden provided two assists in this match.

After the game, Gareth Southgate said England’s trust in young players in recent years has paid dividends.

"I don't think we could have predicted how quickly he would mature, even in the last three months that's gone to another level,"

Southgate said of the Borussia Dortmund midfielder.

"We wanted to invest in young players on the basis that we felt they could be something special in the future. It's meant the likes of Bukayo has 20-odd caps already coming to a tournament like this, [Declan] Rice was in the squad at 19…

"You suffer a bit sometimes because they're not perfect when they come in. But you can see the mentality, and further down the line you get the kind of performances we are now getting. The three youngest players we felt had earned that trust in a game of this size, and they've shown great maturity and all contributed in their own way."

Southgate also admitted that facing France is the biggest possible test for his team.

"It's the biggest test we could face,"

Southgate said.

"They are world champions, have an incredible depth of talent and outstanding individual players that are very difficult to play against. It's a great challenge."

Kylian Mbappe scored another two goals against Poland on Sunday to take his tally to five goals at the

2022 World Cup

but Southgate said they are looking forward to facing Mbappe and his teammates in the quarter-finals.

Southgate said:

"He's a world-class player, he's already delivered big moments in this tournament and other tournaments.

"They also have [Antoine] Griezmann who has played over 70 consecutive games for France, he's a phenomenal player, we know Olivier Giroud so well, and they have outstanding young midfield players.

"Everywhere you look in every age group, they have incredible depth in every position. It's a huge test but one we are looking forward to."

Senegal manager Aliou Cisse also admitted that his team could not compete against one of the top five teams in the world.

He said:

"We played a very good England team, you saw that, and we just weren't as good as we should have been.

"We were missing two or three players that could've made a difference. But you could see the difference in the teams tonight. We have worked hard to become the best team in Africa, but tonight we were playing one of the top five teams in the world and you could see the difference.

"We were 18th in the rankings before tonight and we were playing one of the big five, so it's an ongoing process.


Cisse has a contract with Senegal until 2024 but refused to discuss his future in the post-match press conference.

"I don't want to talk about that," he said. "We've just lost a game, are knocked out of the tournament, and I will need to draw the lessons from this game. Currently, I am coach of this team, and we'll see what the future brings."

source: SportMob

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