England passes by Senegal and will have its eternal rival France in the quarterfinals of the World Cup

England passes by Senegal and will have its eternal rival France in the quarterfinals of the World Cup

As football can be much more than a sport, the prospect of a confrontation between England and France in the World Cup brings to mind the definition of researcher Richard Davies.

In an article in the French Journal of British Studies, he defined that the relationship between the two countries has never been able to escape past conflicts and rivalries. And that their memories often become points of reference in discussions and diplomatic crises.

With a quiet 3-0 victory over Senegal this Sunday (4), England sealed their qualification for the quarterfinals to face the current world champions. Hours earlier, France had dispatched Poland 3-1.

The English have spent decades mocking the French’s inability to win anything on the field, despite their beautiful football. England had won the world title in 1966. But the game turned. France won the 1998 and 2018 Cups. It won the 1984 and 2000 Euros.

England was notable for always falling by the wayside and failing at the decisive moment. It was like this in 2018, when he dominated Croatia in the first half of the semifinal of the Russian tournament. Could have scored. But he only scored one goal and lost in overtime. If he won, he would face France in the final.

This Sunday, at the Al Bayt stadium, in Al Khor, they took their time to impose their dominance over Senegal. Ismalia Sarr missed a chance at 21, with a great save by Jordan Pickford. But when Jordan Henderson opened the scoring in the 38th minute, the match could only have one winner.

England took over the game and expanded in the initial stage additions with Harry Kane. Bukayo Saka completed at 12 of the second half.

The selection has hit the bar in its search for a trophy of expression. Lost in the semi in 2018 and was a finalist in last year’s Euro. It ended up being defeated on penalties by Italy.

The team reaches the stage that was the great villain in past World Cups, especially when it had what became known as its golden generation. The team that had David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard lost in the quarterfinals in 2002 (to Brazil) and 2006 (to Portugal).

“I have never been so frustrated in a football match. I knew that if we won, we would be champions”, said Michael Owen to Folha in 2019, referring to the 2-1 score for the Brazilian team in the Korea/Japan Cup.

The clash with France could represent a watershed for English football. The typical decisive game in which for decades, since 1966, the team was defeated. He has the potential to change history and against the country that is his biggest rival off the pitch.

England and France have been involved against each other in 29 different wars. The first started in 1109. The most famous was known as the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453). The French tried to intervene in the Wars of the Roses (1455-1487), the series of civil battles that changed English history and established the Tudor dynasty.

Even in modern times, the English and the French never cease to be at odds with each other. Opposite sides on Brexit, the separation of the United Kingdom from the European Union, have endless discussions and exchanges of accusations about the passage through the channel between Calais and Dover, used by refugees to reach the English side.

With the passage of time in Al Khora, the game lost all interest and even the English stopped encouraging, already sure of the classification. Some of them left, starting in the 30’s of the second half, perhaps to save energy for the most important match: against France.

Those who stayed, began to sing “God Save the King”, while a group of Senegalese continued their drumming that lasted 90 minutes.

Defeated Senegal, England could face the most glamorous game of the World Cup so far. It will be a dispute between opposites, as always happens between the two countries. Top scorer Harry Kane, reference of the English attack, against Kylian Mbappé, already a candidate to be the best in the World Cup and scorer of five goals.

Past rivalries in different areas continue to have a negative impact on French-British relations, researcher Richard Davies wrote.

Now it will be football.

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