France vs England
Saka’s defensive qualities will be required here as he has to try and shackle the marauding Theo Hernandez, who’s been fouled more times than anyone else in the France squad (6) for an average of 2.09 P/90.
He’ll also be crucial in tracking Mbappe, who’s been fouled 5 times, 1.52 P/90.
Saka himself has made 4 fouls so far in the tournament, an average of 1.74 P/90. He presses hard and makes a real nuisance of himself.
Henderson will be in the battleground in midfield for this one, in a game that I expect to turn in to a bit of a war in the centre of the park. Tchouameni (5), Griezmann (3) and if he comes on, Camavinga (5) rank highly for fouls drawn during the tournament for Les Bleus.
Henderson has committed 2 fouls, so just under 1 P/90, but he did escape a couple against USA. Some lenient refereeing saw him lucky to escape without a booking, never mind some bolstered foul stats.
No French player has committed more fouls (4) than Tchouameni in the 2022 World Cup. 1 foul against both Poland and Denmark, and a further 2 against Tunisia puts him at 1.11 fouls P/90.
Likely opponents in the middle of the park Bellingham and Henderson sit second and third for fouls drawn P/90 (1.39, and 1.90 respectively), within the England squad. Tasked with protecting his back four, Tchouameni will look to halt their runs from midfield in any way possible.
Only Rabiot can rival teammate Tchouameni in the France squad for fouls conceded (4) at the World Cup. 1, 1, and 2 fouls in each of his 3 starts puts him at 1.25 fouls P/90, the highest average of the French squad.
Again, he will be up against the dynamic pairing of Bellingham and Henderson, but with more of a licence to roam than his compatriot Tchouameni, there’s every chance that gets caught making lunging tackles out of position.
Of all the English players at the World Cup, only the hard pressing, and energetic Mason Mount has made more fouls than the dogged and determined Luke Shaw. 5 fouls in total, 3 against Senegal and 2 against Iran, gives him an average of 1.35 fouls P/90.
He’ll be tasked with dealing with the devastating pace and trickery that Ousmane Dembele (1.15 fouls drawn P/90) brings to the table. In what is likely to be a close game, expect plenty of play in the wide areas, where Shaw will look to get tight in order to avoid a foot-race with the Frenchman.