France looking like firm World Cup favourites

By George Davis and Brent Sancho July 10, 2018

Having improved game by game Brent Sancho believes it will be tough for either England or Croatia to beat France.

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    Spain legend and World Cup 2022 global ambassador Xavi believes a 48-team tournament in Qatar 'will not be good'.

    In 2017, FIFA voted to add an extra 16 teams to the 2026 competition, which will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

    The Qatar tournament is currently scheduled to take place between November 21 and December 18 2022 with 32 teams, but FIFA president Gianni Infantino is pushing to bring forward the expansion.

    At a FIFA Council meeting in Miami on Monday, the governing body decided to defer the final expansion decision.

    Official Statement from the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy on the ongoing discussions around the possible expansion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar pic.twitter.com/Y8vexGRJXd

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    Xavi, a 2010 World Cup winner who now plays in the Qatar Stars League for Al Sadd, believes 32 teams is 'more than enough' for Qatar.

    "It's too much and too long," said Xavi.

    "Imagine 48 teams in Qatar, it will not be good in my opinion.

    "It's still for the organisers to decide, but for now Qatar is doing everything to prepare for 32 teams and it will be difficult to change it for more teams.

    "Also, it's good for football to have 32. That's more than enough."

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  • Mourinho: Mbappe more valuable than Messi & Ronaldo Mourinho: Mbappe more valuable than Messi & Ronaldo

    Jose Mourinho believes Kylian Mbappe's age and "incredible" ability makes him more valuable than even Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe has lifted the World Cup, won Ligue 1 twice, scored 55 top-flight goals and been voted fourth in the Ballon d'Or all before his 21st birthday.

    And it is his youth that former Manchester United manager Mourinho views as the critical difference when comparing his worth in the transfer market to Barcelona captain Messi, 31, and Juventus talisman Ronaldo, 34.

    The ex-Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid head coach thinks the France international could command even a higher fee than the game's current most expensive player, his PSG team-mate Neymar.

    "For a player like Mbappe, when you speak about the future, you don't need to say what he's going to be like in five years' time, in 10 years' time," Mourinho told beIN Sports.

    "Just focus on now. He's absolutely incredible.

    "I think going by his age and [and considering] the age of Cristiano, of Messi, [both] over 30, Neymar is 27... when you go to the market level and age is also a factor, I think he's the most valuable player in the world.

    "In a hypothetical transfer, he's the most expensive player in football now.

    "In terms of his qualities, [he is] unbelievable. One word is enough. It means everything."

    Mbappe scored the opener in PSG's 3-1 win over Marseille in Le Classique before linking up with the France squad for their opening Euro 2020 qualifiers against Moldova and Iceland.

    Speaking at a media conference on Monday, Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps endorsed the young forward's maturity and ability to cope with close attention from opposition players.

    "He has such abilities that he may face some tough challenges on the pitch. He's ready to deal with that kind of thing," Deschamps said.

    "I cannot say that he had disproportionate reactions so far. He reacts because it's never pleasant.

    "He deals well with those situations though. He's used to it. It's something he has experienced since the beginning of his career and he will be subjected to this his entire career because of what he's able to do on the pitch."

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