France Holds Narrow 1-0 Lead Over Rival England In World Cup Quarterfinals


The English men’s national football team is trailing the defending champion French team 1-0 after the first half of their quarterfinals match Saturday, with the winner facing underdog Morocco in the semifinals next week.

Key Facts

French midfielder and Real Madrid star Aurelien Tchouameni scored in the 17th minute from deep off a pass from Antoine Griezmann, giving France an early lead.

Facing an English attack, French goalie Hugo Lloris made two key saves within minutes of each other, saving a free kick from England’s Luke Shaw, followed shortly by a quick shot from England striker Harry Kane.

France is also relying on rising phenom Kylian Mbappe and veteran Oliver Giroud, who made history in France’s win over Poland in the round of 16 as the national team’s all-time leading scorer, with 52 goals in international play, including World Cup, EURO Cup and Nations League tournaments.


In a thrilling match earlier on Saturday, Morocco upset Portugal 1-0, becoming the first team representing an Arab nation or an African country to advance to the semifinals of the tournament. Earlier this week, Morocco stunned Spain in a shootout in their quarterfinals match. The only African teams that had ever advanced to the quarterfinals were Ghana in 2010, Senegal in 2002 and Cameroon in 1990. Host country Qatar made history earlier in the tournament as the first host country to ever be eliminated first from the World Cup.

Key Background

France won its second World Cup title in the last iteration of the tournament in 2018, defeating Croatia 4-2 (its last win came in 1998 over Brazil) behind Mbappe—the 35th highest paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes. England, which plays separately from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, has won just once, in 1966. France and England have met twice before in the World Cup in 1966 and 1982, with England winning both matches.

What To Watch For

The winner of the match between England and France will play Morocco at 2 p.m. Wednesday. Argentina and Croatia—which won its quarterfinal match in a shootout over Brazil, a favorite to win the tournament—are slated to face off at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. That match could be the last World Cup appearance for two soccer legends: Croatia’s captain Luka Modric, who plays as a midfielder for Real Madrid, and Argentina’s Lionel Messi, the superstar striker (and world’s highest paid athlete) for Paris Saint-Germain. Although both have played in a World Cup Final match (Messi in 2014 and Modric in 2018), neither have won the world’s biggest sporting event.

Surprising Fact

In a tweet before the game, French President Emmanuel Macron asked British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak whether he would support Les Blues (the nickname for the French National Team) if they win, with Sunak replying: “Hopefully I won’t have to but you’ve got a deal. Look forward to you getting behind the Three Lions in the next round.” After a series of apparent missed calls against the English team in the first half, British comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted, “Are all the officials French?”

Further Reading

World Cup Underdogs: Morocco Defeats Portugal, Becomes First African Or Arab Country To Advance To Semifinals (Forbes)

Sigh Of Relief: Argentina Survives Staggering Netherlands Comeback To Reach World Cup Semifinals (Forbes)

What To Watch In Final World Cup Stretch: Messi’s Last Stand, Neymar Vs. Pelé, Morocco’s Run For The Ages And More (Forbes)

World Cup Shocker: Croatia Knocks Out Favorite Brazil Even As Neymar Ties Pelé’s Goal Record (Forbes)