ENGLAND’S line-up against France in Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final will be night and day away in ability and personnel from the last competitive meeting,
Only midfielder Jordan Henderson, 32, who was a late sub in the 1-1 group draw at Euro 2012 under Roy Hodgson, remains from that mediocre-looking squad.
The Three Lions’ starters included surprise scorer Joleon Lescott, Scott Parker and Danny Welbeck.
In fact, Ashley Cole, John Terry and Steven Gerrard were the only big names.
Step forward a decade, and current boss Gareth Southgate has established stars like Harry Kane and Kyle Walker – plus three of the world’s hottest young talents in Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden.
The Three Lions topped that Euro group in 2012 – but both they and France crashed out in the quarter-finals.
It was the beginning of the end for the few players left from Sven Goran Eriksson’s “golden generation” early in the noughties.
Now England will hope the World Cup in Qatar is the end of the beginning for an era where, finally, the squad’s individual talent could be matched by collective achievement.
France too are much changed from ten years ago.
Hugo Lloris and Olivier Giroud plus back-up keeper Steve Mandanda remain.
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But strike legend Karim Benzema, 34, would be there but for injury.
Overall, England have beaten France 17 times, drawn five and lost nine.
The two European giants have met just twice since 2012 – in friendlies.
Dele Alli cracked a 25-yard special on his full debut before Wayne Rooney completed a 2-0 Wembley victory in November 2015.
That game was most notable for marking horrific attacks in Paris with a minute’s silence and more than 70,000 fans uniting to sing La Marseillaise – the French national anthem.
Then in June 2017 France deservedly won 3-2,despite a double from Harry Kane.
Source: The Sun
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