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The battle that will decide England vs France in World Cup quarter-final

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Jude Bellingham’s midfield battle with Aurelien Tchouameni will be crucial when England take on reigning champions France in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

Here, the PA news agency takes stock of one of the key matchups.

stepping up

France apparently received two major blows when star midfield duo Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante were sidelined from the tournament due to injury.

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But young Real Madrid player Tchouameni has been one of the revelations of Qatar 2022, patrolling in front of the French defense and shutting down attack after attack.

The 22-year-old made his international debut just a year ago, but now has 18 caps to his name, having started all four World Cup matches so far.

He has been dictating France’s play from deep inside while allowing fellow midfielder Adrien Rabiot to wander into more forward positions and offer support to Antoine Griezmann in the number 10 role.

traversing the distance

Tchouameni is the best player in France in the distance covered in 90 minutes over 10.2 km.

Bellingham (9.9km) sits third for England along with Mason Mount and behind midfielders Declan Rice (10.7km) and Jordan Henderson (10.2km).

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The 19-year-old has become England’s driving force in midfield. He is always available to his teammates, with his tally of 108 offers to receive the ball per 90 minutes being the most on either team.

See also  Is Gareth Southgate the right manager to turn exciting England into champions?

Tchouameni has shown the ball 73 times on average for 90 minutes.

quick feet

Bellingham is the more explosive of the two with his movement: third on both teams for number of sprints per game (61), behind Jack Grealish (66) and Phil Foden (63). Tchouameni has averaged 37 sprints per 90 minutes.

Apart from England’s Harry Maguire, Tchouameni has covered the shortest distance in ‘high speed sprints’ between the outfield players of both teams (69m per game).

Bellingham has run almost four times as far (250 m) at an equivalent speed.

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But Tchouameni is the best passer in France, with 76 completions per 90, trailing only John Stones (83) on both teams. Bellingham has completed 49 passes in 90 minutes.

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