They are two of European football’s biggest rivals, with France taking on England in Paris on Tuesday night.
Between them they’ve won the World Cup twice, while France are two-time European Championships winners. Each side is packed with talent — but what if we combined the two XIs?
Who would feature and who misses out? Here’s our France-England combined XI in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Have we missed anyone? Let us know your side in the comments below …
Hugo Lloris — While the Tottenham keeper’s distribution is patchy, exemplified by his horror show in last week’s 2-1 defeat to Sweden, this is one of the easiest areas in the team to pick. Joe Hart is in possibly the worst period of his career, not even in the top five goalkeepers in the Premier League let alone Europe. After David De Gea and Manuel Neuer, Lloris has a claim to be in the “best of the rest” category in Europe. France 1-0 England.
Kyle Walker — A rare victory for England as the Tottenham right-back joins teammate Lloris in our XI. You may raise your eyebrows at this one but if Pep Guardiola is prepared to spend £40 million on Walker, you know there’s player in there. He has added a new dimension to Tottenham’s play in attack and is diligent in defence. France 1-1 England.
Raphael Varane — One of the most accomplished defenders in Europe. Still only 24, Varane has won La Liga twice and the Champions League three times at Real Madrid. Jose Mourinho wants him at Manchester United and we do in our XI. Varane is a better reader of the game and more technically gifted than any defender England has to offer. France 2-1 England.
Laurent Koscielny — Gary Cahill has been a fine signing for Chelsea but he has his limitations, as evidenced in his sloppy showing against Scotland last time out. While Koscielny is by no means infallible, he has grown into one of the best defenders in the Premier League. France 3-1 England.
Benjamin Mendy — The Monaco left-back was part of the most exciting team in Europe last season as the Ligue 1 side won the title and impressed in reaching the Champions League semifinals. A better crosser of the ball than Danny Rose, Mendy beats his fellow Manchester City target here. France 4-1 England.
N’Golo Kante — A no-brainer. Back-to-back Premier League titles with two different clubs highlights Kante’s influence. Indefatigable and supreme in the tackle, Kante is easily better than anything England have to offer in midfield. France 5-1 England.
Paul Pogba — Don’t let the naysayers harp on about his £89.3m price tag: Manchester United’s Paul Pogba is one of the most talented players in the Premier League. A force of nature with surprisingly dainty feet, just look at how inept United’s midfield look without their main man. France 6-1 England.
Antoine Griezmann — Again, the dearth of options for Gareth Southgate render this a no contest. Who in the England team has the right to usurp Atletico Madrid’s Griezmann, third behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d’Or voting? Griezmann’s versatility in the three positions behind the striker make him a certainty here. France 7-1 England.
Dele Alli — Finally, something for England to shout about. A recent study reckons Alli is worth more than Messi and while that’s fanciful, the Tottenham star is undoubtedly one of the most exciting players on the planet right now. He scored 23 goals in all competitions for club and country last season — not bad for a 21-year-old who was playing in League One in 2014-15. France 7-2 England.
Kylian Mbappe — Yes, he’d rather be a No. 9 in our XI but we call the shots here so the Monaco man must make-do in one of the three positions behind the striker. Mbappe is the hottest property in world football right now and could become the first £100m player if he makes a move this summer. With 23 goals last season including two hat tricks, the 18-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough year. France 8-2 England.
Harry Kane — Everyone at one point in the past three years or so has called the Tottenham man a one-hit wonder. But the tide has turned and the majority now see him for what he is: a world-class striker. One of the most gifted finishers in the game, Kane is strong and his hold up play deserves more credit too. Olivier Giroud and Alexandre Lacazette pushed for inclusion, but Kane relegates them to the bench. France 8-3 England.
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