How do you stop Mbappe? England grapples with World Cup conundrum | Football news

DOHA: England coach Gareth South Gate is grappling with the greatest dilemma of his reign as he tries to find a way to stop the “sensational” Kylian Mbappe in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.
Southgate’s hopes of leading England to the semi-finals for a third time in a row at major tournaments depend on finding a solution to a problem that any team could not solve in Qatar.
How do you subdue a player with Mbappe’s deadly combination of electric speed, ballet skill and clinical finishing?
Australia, Denmark and Poland did not give a suitable answer because Mbappé scored in his three starts en route to the quarterfinals.
Poland defender Cash Matty summarizes the conundrum posed by Mbappe following the Paris Saint-Germain forward’s two brilliant goals in France’s 3-1 win in the round of 16 on Sunday.
“I don’t know whether to give up or go tight,” Cash said. “When I’m shackled, he just spins in the back. When he gets the ball, stops and moves, he’s the fastest I’ve ever seen.
“He’s on another level. Speed, movement, look at his finishing. He has everything.”
Four years after playing a key role in France’s World Cup win in Russia, Mbappe is the tournament’s most feared player.
The 23-year-old has five goals in four games in Qatar, while a nine-goal streak in his career at the World Cup puts him on par with Argentina’s Lionel. Messi and one in front of Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Now it’s Southgate’s turn to sit down to the tough Mbappe test.
“Look, he’s a world-class player who always creates the moments when they need them. That’s what those top players do. That’s the challenge we face, ‘ Southgate said.
So what will Southgate do to counter the threat from Mbappe?
One answer is to switch England’s 4-3-3 formation to a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 system, which would allow Kyle Walker move from right-back to complement the centre-back.
Southgate’s concern is to avoid a situation where Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele can run at defender Harry Maguire and exploit his lack of speed.
Moving Walker will help Maguire but it will also open up new claims from Southgate that he is a negative coach more interested in strangling opponents than in letting his stars express themselves.
Southgate was heavily criticized after he reverted to a 3-4-3 formation in the Euro 2020 final against Italy, producing a lackluster performance and ending in a penalty shootout defeat.
Instead of a roster change, Southgate could draw inspiration from Walker’s role in Manchester City’s Champions League semi-final first leg win over Mbappe’s PSG last year.
City manager Pep Guardiola asked Walker to block Mbappe from right-back and he responded with a disciplined display that kept the star from scoring.
“I can’t think of another right-back in the world that I would want to play against him,” said former England defender Gary Neville Talk about Walker’s chance to subdue Mbappe.
“Kyle will be closer to him, he has more pace than the Polish defenders. That doesn’t mean Kyle will take him out of the game. This is a sensational player, an excellent new player. best of the world.”
With Walker winning the duel against Mbappe, Neville believes it is essential to reduce his service from Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann.
Neville said: “If they can stop Giroud and Griezmann from serving in that central area, it means Mbappe will get much less dangerous passes.
But no matter what England planned for Mbappe, Cash knew from painful experience that nothing could really prepare them to face such a unique talent.
“I spent the whole afternoon watching his clip, but I was watching the video while lying in bed. In real life, he was burning my leg, that’s the difference,” he said.


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