The England national team began preparing a way to defeat France in the 2022 World Cup, by using a 10-year-old plan, whose hero was Argentine star Lionel Messi.
And days before the match, Steve Holland, assistant coach to England’s Gareth Southgate, revealed the method he would use to lead the “Three Lions” to victory over France.
Hollande said in statements published by the British newspaper “Mirror”: “In 2012 in the Champions League, I was working at Chelsea, and we met Barcelona in the semi-finals. I think there is a group of players on this planet that you need to give them special attention.”
He added, “Lionel Messi was and may still be one of these names, and Kylian Mbappe should be placed in this category. We must try to avoid putting ourselves in situations where he is able to threaten us. A way must be found.”
Mbappe is considered the first star of the French national team in the 2022 World Cup, and he is the top scorer in the competition so far with 5 goals, two goals ahead of his closest competitors, before facing England.
And Holland continued: “I remember speaking with Jose Mourinho, when he was coach of Real Madrid, he had Cristiano Ronaldo, and Dani Alves was a full-back flying in the attack with Barcelona, and then you need a warrior from your team to try to stop him.”
And he added, “He tried to put Ronaldo to stop him in a one-on-one way, because Alves was going out a lot to attack, and this affected him in performing defensive duties upon return.”
And on how to stop Mbappe, Holland said: “In situations like this, you have to play on weaknesses and exploit them, and make your team adapt to how to cover up who is in control of Mbappe. We must find balance and that is the question.”
It is noteworthy that Chelsea succeeded in eliminating Messi’s comrades from the Champions League semi-finals a decade ago, by winning 3-2 on aggregate, as Leo missed a penalty kick back at Camp Nou.