Fifa WC: France wary of England’s pace, set-piece threat in quarter-final

France will have to be on their toes when they face England in their World Cup quarter-final clash as their opponents have players capable of hurting them on the counter-attack and at set-pieces, coach Didier Deschamps said on Friday.

The teams have not met at a major tournament since they drew in the group stage of Euro 2012 but the focus has very much been on the game between two countries that share a sporting rivalry.

Deschamps, who has won the World Cup with France as a player and coach, said he did not see many weaknesses in the England team but they did have some “slightly less strong points”.

“Pace is often one of the keys — when you are quick then the opponents have less time to get organised. But you need more than just pace to score goals,” Deschamps said ahead of Saturday’s game at Al Bayt Stadium.

“You can stop a lot of things but it is very difficult to stop someone very quick, especially in transitions. “England are very strong in transitions — more than half of their goals have come from quick counter-attacks. But they have other qualities too — they have technical ability, the capacity to score goals and ability on set-pieces.”

The spotlight has been on how forward Kylian Mbappe, the tournament’s top scorer with five goals, will fare against the England defence, with Kyle Walker saying he would count on his experience of playing him in the past when they square up.

Leave Ronaldo alone, says Portugal coach

Cristiano Ronaldo was upset when he was left out of Portugal’s starting line-up against Switzerland but the conversation to drop him was completely normal and it is high time the world stopped focusing on the matter, coach Fernando Santos said on Friday. Ronaldo was benched as Portugal thrashed Switzerland 6-1 in the last 16. Later, the country’s football federation had to publicly deny reports that their skipper had threatened to leave during the tournament after talking with Santos. Portugal play Morocco in the quarter-finals on Saturday and a visibly frustrated Santos took great pains to explain what happened behind the scenes to put the issue to bed.

Qatar probing death of a worker

Qatar has launched a work safety investigation into the death of a Filipino, officials said on Thursday, following reports that the man died while working at a training site during the soccer World Cup. Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers has come under enormous scrutiny during the build-up to the tournament.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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