England vs. France Live: World Cup Score and Updates

Credit…Carl Recine/Action Images, via Reuters

England vs. France

How to watch: 2 p.m. Eastern. Fox, Telemundo.

For a rivalry that dates to the Norman Conquest, England and France have largely avoided each other at the World Cup, playing only twice — in 1982 and 1966, when the Three Lions won the whole bangers and mash.

England’s team in Qatar has the talent, tactics and, perhaps, fortitude to win another — if it can neutralize Kylian Mbappé, who seems to score as often as that New Balance commercial plays on Fox. Short of abducting him, or putting a banana in the tailpipes of the French motor coaches, England may be reduced to outwitting Les Bleus on the field.

Gareth Southgate’s decision, such as it is, pivots on whether he favors four in the back or just three. Opting for the latter, which would enable England to deploy two wingbacks in an effort to defuse France’s speed and crosses from both flanks (hello, Ousmane Dembele), would signal a switch in tactics but not one of desperation.

Either way, Kyle Walker will play a considerable role in muffling Mbappé and, thus, spearheading a defense that has shut out its last three opponents. A fourth, against a team conveying an aura of inevitability, might be unmanageable. Then again, all England — which has scored 12 across its four games — needs to do is finish with one more goal.