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The key stats as England take on holders France in the World Cup quarter-finals

England will face a formidable France attack (Mike Egerton/PA)
England will face a formidable France attack (Mike Egerton/PA)

England have enjoyed back-to-back three-goal wins at the World Cup but their defensive strength will be key if they are to win their quarter-final against France.

The only goals England have conceded in the tournament came in their opening group game against Iran, while leading 4-0 and 6-1 with the latter being a disputed late penalty.

They will face by far their toughest test to date against the reigning champions at Al Bayt Stadium, though, and here the PA news agency looks at what the statistics show us.

Sharp shooters

Kylian Mbappe, centre, scores France’s first goal against Denmark
France and England have both racked up shots from prime positions (Mike Egerton/PA)

Only Brazil, with 70, have exceeded France’s 68 total shots in the tournament while England have the best conversion rate of the quarter-finalists, 26 per cent – though their 46 shots rank joint-ninth overall and joint-fifth of the eight teams remaining.

Both teams have created good shooting opportunities, with 78.3 per cent of England’s attempts coming from inside the penalty area – the highest ratio in the tournament. France’s 70.6 per cent ranks fifth – and second among quarter-finalists with the teams lying between them being Poland and Serbia, with only 31 total shots apiece, and Cameroon with 27.

Keeping up those impressive records will require both teams to get close to goal and England will be encouraged by the fact France have allowed twice as many final-third entries, 32 per 90 minutes, as they have, as well as 10 defensive line breaks per 90 to England’s four.

England have been particularly resilient in the left channel, where key France forward Kylian Mbappe typically operates and Les Bleus have averaged six entries per 90, with Gareth Southgate’s side allowing only two in total across their four games so far.

Mbappe leads all France and England players with seven ball progressions and 29 receptions between the midfield and defensive lines, while he and Antoine Griezmann have each delivered 29 of France’s 104 crosses in the tournament.

The team’s tally of 24 crosses per 90 leads the quarter-finalists but England have allowed only nine per 90 minutes, the lowest figure in the tournament apart from Spain.

That delivery from wide areas has helped the World Cup holders rack up 17 headed attempts, more than twice as many as any other quarter-finalist and a quarter of their 68 total shots, with Adrien Rabiot, Mbappe and Olivier Giroud all scoring headers in their opening group game against Australia.

Key men

Bukayo Saka, left, and Marcus Rashford
Bukayo Saka, left, and Marcus Rashford have combined to score half of England’s goals (Nick Potts/PA)

Those three players have scored all of France’s nine goals at this World Cup, Mbappe with five and Giroud three as the latter overhauled Thierry Henry as their all-time record scorer.

Harry Kane will match Wayne Rooney’s England record if he scores on Sunday but has got only one of his side’s 12 goals so far in the tournament, instead contributing with three assists.

Eight different England players have scored, led by Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford with three apiece. The pair have split time, with Rashford starting against Wales and coming on as a substitute for Saka in the other three games, and operated primarily on the right flank.

France lost left-back Lucas Hernandez for the tournament early in their first game but have a more than able deputy in the form of his brother Theo, whose role against England’s in-form right wingers will be France’s equivalent of Kyle Walker being asked to shut down Mbappe.