Gareth Southgate’s England team will face a huge test against reigning World Cup holders France in the 2022 quarter-final.
The 52-year-old is aiming to become the first ever England manager to reach two consecutive semi-finals. So far England have enjoyed a terrific start to Qatar 2022 - they have racked up a record breaking 12 goals from four games, whilst also keeping an impressive three clean sheets.
However, they will face their toughest test yet in Didier Deschamps’ side and much of the talk before the game has been centred around French talisman Kylian Mbappe.
The PSG striker burst onto the world stage four years ago by becoming the first teenager since Pele to score in a World Cup final. Mbappe guided his country to glory in 2018 and is aiming to match another record set by Pele by guiding his side to two consecutive World Cup titles for the first time since 1962.
The 23-year-old forward has been the standout player of the Qatar tournament so far and he is currently the top scorer in the World Cup with five goals. Mbappe has proven himself as an outstanding talent for several years now and defenders around the world have struggled to cope with the pace and power of the 23-year-old striker.
Mbappe looks to be France’s biggest threat going forward at this moment in time, and a number of pundits have been devising ways to try and keep the PSG striker quiet. Match of the Day host Gary Lineker claimed that Kyle Walker is the only player in the England team with the pace to compete with Mbappe.
But how fast is Kyle Walker in comparison to Kylian Mbappe and who are the fastest players in this year’s World Cup tournament Here is everything you need to know.
Who is the fastest player at the World Cup?
Frenchman Kylian Mbappe and Brazil attacker Vincinus Jnr are currently the fastest players remaining in the competition according to statistics from FIFA 23. Meanwhile Canada’s Alphonso Davies is narrowly behind them in third spot.
However, despite ranking the highest on the football game they have not recorded the fastest pace in the tournament so far.
According to statistics measured by FIFA , Ghanian winger Kamaldeen Sulemana has been the quickest player at the tournament in Qatar and the 20-year-old has clocked up an impressive speed of 35.7 kmph against Uruguay during their final group game.
Narrowly behind him is Canada and Bayern Munich defender star Alphonso Davies. The 22-year-old ran at an incredible speed of 35.6 kmph against Croatia.
Here are the top 10 fastest players at this World Cup according to FIFA.
- Kamaldeen Sulemana (Ghana) - 35.7 kmph against Uruguay
- Alphonso Davies (Canada) - 35.6 kmph vs Croatia
- Nico Williams (Spain) - 35.6 kmph vs Germany
- David Raum (Germany) - 35.5 vs Spain
- Dan James (Wales) - 35.4 vs Iran
- Antonee Robinson (USA) - 35.4 vs Wales
- Ismaila Sarr (Senegal) - 35.4 vs Netherlands
- Achraf Hakimi (Morocco) - 35.3 vs Croatia
- Kylian Mbappe (France) - 35.3 vs Poland
- Tejan Buchanan (Canada) - 35.2 vs Belgium
Who is England’s fastest player?
Gareth Southgate has used a total of 20 of his 26 man squad during the tournament in Qatar and there are a number of attacking players vying for top spot including Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka.
However, it is defender Kyle Walker who currently ranks at the top of the pace rankings. The Manchester City right back made his second start of the tournament against Senegal in the round of 16 and clocked in at 34.4kmph, putting him ahead of Marcus Rashford 34.2 kmph and Phil Foden 33.6kmph.
Is Kyle Walker the man to stop Kylian Mbappe?
Much has been made about the battle between Kyle Walker and Kylian Mbappe in the build up to the game and the Manchester City defender is favourite to start for England ahead of Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander Arnold, providing that England stick with the 4-3-3 formation.
However, the Sheffield born defender has played down his battle against Mbappe and has said that his time will not focus entirely on the French star. Walker said: “I understand what I need to do and that is to stop him. It’s easier said than done, but I don’t underestimate myself. He is a fantastic player in great form. It is not going to be an easy task, but as a professional footballer you want to play the best and I think he is one of the best, if not the best in the world at the moment.”
Walker added: “You have to give him respect but not too much. Yes it will be a tough game but a team cannot be about one person. I’m not going to roll out the red carpet for him and tell him to score. It’s a World Cup, it’s do or die.”