Gareth Southgate has pushed the England squad ahead of their World Cup quarter-final against France, challenging his side to create history in Qatar.

The Three Lions progressed past Senegal in the first knockout round to clinch a tie against the defending champions, presenting England's biggest test so far at the tournament.

Defeat against Didier Deschamps' side would mark England's earliest exit from a major tournament under Southgate, who led the side to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia and finished as runners-up to Italy at Euro 2020.

While those improvements are significant, England have fallen at a crucial hurdle against tough opponents in each of those tournaments – losing 2-1 to Croatia in 2018 before a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat at Wembley last year.

Southgate has used that record to issue a challenge to his squad, identifying that winning fixtures away from home against top opposition is something yet to be achieved.

"We've made quite a bit of history over the last four or five years, not all of it good, but that's the great challenge," he said.

"When you go back through the tournaments, you do see the teams that have knocked England out. We haven't been able to do that [win an away knockout against elite opposition] so that's the next test for this team.

"We have a lot of experience of these moments and they know that they've had to win games in different ways; they've had to come from behind in big matches.

"What we talked about against Senegal was keeping the relentless pressure going, not sitting back when we were ahead, making sure that we kept the intensity of our game. We've got to do that now against the world champions."

England's success under Southgate is a far cry from his predecessors, where disappointing exits from tournaments were par from the course, which led Southgate to identify the difficulties faced on the international stage – and highlighted bringing in young players early was crucial.

"There have been lots of moments when to play with England is difficult. It's a different sort of challenge to your club. It's far more scrutiny," he explained.

"So you have to be able to handle that. When we're selecting players, we're looking at their ability to handle that mentally as much as anything else.

"The young lads that have come in are showing that. But you never know until they are in these moments how that's going to be.

"We had a lot of caps on the pitch against Senegal, even the younger ones, because we've blooded them early."

Bukayo Saka revealed his gratitude for the regular support he receives from Arsenal "legends" Thierry Henry and Robert Pires.

The England winger has netted three goals in three games at the 2022 World Cup and is set to line up against France in a mouthwatering quarter-final on Saturday.

Henry and Pires lifted the trophy with Les Bleus 24 years ago, before going on to win two Premier League titles with Arsenal in 2002 and 2004 – forming part of the 'Invincibles' side that went through the entire campaign unbeaten in the latter.

Academy graduate Saka, who has been with the club since the age of seven, is benefitting from their wise words and guidance.

"We have so many French players, like Thierry and Robert Pires, that have been around the club and spoken to me and helped me," he said. "They still both support me to this day, so I'm grateful to them.

"Of course, on the pitch, they were magnificent, and they delivered silverware for Arsenal, so they'll definitely be legends – always."

Henry made contact with Saka following his missed penalty in England's Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy, a gesture that was greatly received by the 21-year-old.

"It showed a lot of character from him to get my number and reach out to me," he added. "After most Arsenal games, he reaches out to me. He's still so passionate about the club; he's an amazing person."

But despite his lengthy association with Arsenal, Saka is yet to speak with another key Frenchman in the Gunners' recent history, legendary former boss Arsene Wenger.

"One of my biggest regrets – things I haven't been able to do – was to meet Arsene Wenger," he revealed. "I know how much everyone at the club loves him, and I know what he did for the club."

Brazil coach Tite believes Neymar is irreplaceable because his technical abilities are what empower the rest of the team.

Neymar was back in the starting XI for Monday's World Cup last-16 win over South Korea at Stadium 974 after injuring ankle ligaments on matchday one.

His participation for the rest of the tournament had been in doubt, but he returned and played a key role in the comfortable 4-1 victory, scoring a penalty that took him to within one goal of Pele's all-time record of 77.

Brazil were irresistible at times in the first half and Neymar was generally at the centre of their most promising attacks, even if he did not necessarily record an assist.

Before Monday, Brazil's performances had been functional if not spectacular, but Neymar's return was important for the fluidity of the rest of the team.

"He's a technical reference. This is technical leadership. When a team looks for the player, they know that they have a weapon there, [someone who can make] the difference," Tite said of the Paris Saint-Germain forward.

"Everyone has their own striking characteristics, but Neymar is the centre, the one who empowers the others."

With his early spot-kick, Neymar became the third Brazil player to score at three editions of the World Cup (2014, 2018 and 2022) after Pele and Ronaldo.

He also created two chances and stepped over the ball before Vinicius Junior coolly opened the scoring in the seventh minute, while only Casemiro and Raphinha – two players who finished the game – managed more than Neymar's 17 passes in the final third, highlighting his involvement in the Selecao's attacks.

Tite's assistant, Cesar Sampaio, believes having Neymar back also provides a mental boost to his team-mates on top of his technical excellence.

"Neymar for sure provides a competitive advantage, he makes a difference on pitch," he said.

"He's a driving force. I'm going round and round, beating around the bush to talk about him, but in a nutshell I'd like to congratulate our physios for their work.

"Neymar, besides his technical skills, he motivates the others and we are very happy to have him back. He had a great performance, he's recovered and ready for new challenges.

"He made important steps, and with him we can reach our full potential."

Brazil's victory set up a quarter-final clash with Croatia on Friday after Zlatko Dalic's men defeated Japan 3-1 on penalties following a 1-1 draw earlier in the day.

Zlatko Dalic confidently declared the World Cup in Qatar will not be Luka Modric's last international tournament as the Croatia head coach insisted the midfielder will "strive for self-improvement".

Croatia have become accustomed to requiring extra time and penalties at FIFA's top tournament, edging past Japan with a shoot-out victory on Monday to tee up a quarter-final clash with Brazil.

Dalic's side needed penalties to defeat Denmark and Russia, then extra time against England, as they reached the final in 2018, the year in which Modric won the Ballon d'Or with his efforts for club and country.

The Real Madrid veteran is now 37, yet Dalic has no doubts he can call upon the evergreen veteran past the tournament in Qatar.

"This will not be Luka’s last tournament," Dalic said. "He will continue to play for Croatia, I am absolutely certain of that.

"Luka continues to work hard and he continues to strive for self-improvement. We will need him for some time more in the future."

Croatia have a fine record at the World Cup, finishing third in 1998 and runners-up in 2018, with another chance to reach the last four if they can overcome Brazil at the Education City Stadium on Friday.

Dalic believes the performances of Croatia on the global stage are "unrivalled" as his side aim to cause an upset against one of the pre-tournament favourites.

"The results we have produced at the World Cup and in European Championships over the last few years are unrivalled for a country of our size," he added.

"I believe this team has given great success to our people – and when you look at it this really is a miracle.

"We have become a force in world football because we are a nation who always feels like we have to prove ourselves."

Vinicius Junior sent "a strong hug" to Pele and says Brazil can keep "dancing until the final" after helping the Selecao beat South Korea 4-1 to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

Three-time World Cup winner Pele has been receiving treatment in Sao Paulo, though his family have denied reports that he is receiving palliative care.

On social media, the Selecao legend confirmed he would be watching Brazil's knockout clash with South Korea and will have enjoyed the performance as Vinicius opened the scoring before a Neymar penalty put him one short of Pele's all-time scoring record for his nation.

Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta rounded off the scoring to give Brazil a four-goal advantage at the break, with Paik Seung-ho's effort in the second half merely being a consolation.

Asked what message the victory sends, Vinicius told Globo Esporte: "That we can keep dancing until the final.

"And send a strong hug to Pele, who is in need of strength. This victory goes to him, so that he can get out of this situation.

"[It says that] we can be champion for him."

Brazil's performance against Croatia was their stand-out display of the competition so far, having shown flashes of their brilliance during the group stages, and Vinicius feels there is more to come.

"As time went by, we were growing up in the competition. Every game that passes we are more confident and intertwined," he added.

"Today we play against a team that gives space, and when it gives space to us it is very complicated for the opponent. We have a lot of moves and personality to make a great game."

Brazil will clash with Croatia in the quarter-final, who defeated Japan on penalties earlier on Monday after a 1-1 draw.

Germany's national team director Oliver Bierhoff has left his role in the aftermath of the side's dismal World Cup campaign.

Bierhoff, who was a Euro 1996 winner and a runner-up at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea as a player, first assumed his role with the German Football Association (DFB) in 2004.

The former Milan forward oversaw Germany's fourth World Cup triumph in Brazil eight years ago, but the team have since suffered consecutive group-stage exits at the tournament, finishing behind Japan and Spain in Group E at this year's competition.

The likes of Philipp Lahm and Dietmar Hamann reacted to the team's elimination in Qatar by calling for significant changes in German football, and the first of those will see Bierhoff depart. 

DFB president Bernd Neuendorf said: "Oliver Bierhoff has rendered great services to the DFB. Even if the last tournaments fell short of the sporting goals, he stands for great moments. 

"His work will always be linked to the World Cup success in Brazil. Even in turbulent times, he always pursued his goals and visions and left a lasting mark on the DFB. 

"On behalf of the DFB employees, I would like to thank Oliver Bierhoff for everything he has done for us and for football in Germany."

Paulo Bento confirmed he will not renew his contract with South Korea after their World Cup exit by defeat to Brazil on Monday.

Vinicius Junior, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta were all on target as the pre-tournament favourites raced into a four-goal lead inside 36 minutes at Stadium 974.

A long-range Paik Seung-ho strike in the second half proved a mere consolation for South Korea, whose journey in Qatar came to an abrupt end.

Bento, appointed in 2018 as Shin Tae-yong's successor, confirmed the Brazil defeat will be his last with the Taegeuk Warriors, after agreeing to stay in charge until the end of their World Cup campaign.

"From now, we just have to think of the future, and it will not be with the national team for South Korea," he said. "I rest, and then I see what happens after.

"I just announced to the players and president of the confederation this decision I made in September. This was a decision set in stone, and today I confirmed it.

"I have to thank them for everything, they gave their best. I have been proud to be their manager."

South Korea were appearing in their first knockout-stage game in the competition since 2010, though failed to deliver against Tite's host of global stars.

They will still head home with great memories in the Middle East after snatching an unlikely Group H qualification with Hwang Hee-chan's injury-time strike against Portugal edging out Uruguay for second place.

"At this time, it is not easy to give a summary of everything in the World Cup, and especially due to it not ending yet," Bento added.

"I can only tell you about our participation, which ended today, I believe it ended in a fair manner. We have to congratulate Brazil because they are better than us.

"Our strategy was to control the match and not let the game run at a high pace, but because of what we had available in terms of preparation, we weren't able to do that and that made it difficult.

"What we did do in the World Cup was something to make us very proud - as well as all the process to get here for the last four years - I believe what we've done in the group stage was very good. 

"For the third time in the history of [South] Korean football, we got to the round of 16. I believe in the group stage, we could have managed more points because against Ghana, we should've and could've won.

"That would've been well-deserved, but our participation makes us proud and makes me satisfied."

Neymar says all the hard work paid off as he recovered from injury to play a big part in Brazil's sublime 4-1 win over South Korea in Monday's World Cup last-16 tie.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar missed Brazil's final two group games after sustaining an ankle injury late on in the opening 2-0 win over Serbia on November 24.

However, the 30-year-old was deemed fit enough to play 81 minutes of the one-sided contest with South Korea and scored the second of his side's goals at Stadium 974.

Neymar admits he feared the worst when suffering the injury 11 days ago and is glad to now be back on the field playing – and scoring – again.

"I was very scared," he said in his post-match interview. "I was doing well after a positive start to the season, so suffering an injury like the one I had was very hard.

"I spent the night crying a lot. But everything worked out in the end; the effort was worth it. All suffering is valid.

"I'd like to thank god for the strength I've been given to be back on the pitch, to be able to train and do everything I needed to be on the pitch again.

"Thanks also to the physios, my colleagues and those who have encouraged me over the last days. I'm happy to be back on the pitch and playing well."

 

Asked if he felt any pain prior to being replaced by Rodrygo, Neymar said: "No I didn't feel anything. I was very content with my performance, but that said we can always improve.

"I can't be 100 per cent satisfied. I've been given the man of the match award today but it's for everyone. I'm really happy with the performance of the side."

With his early penalty, Neymar became the third Brazil player to score at three editions of the World Cup (2014, 2018 and 2022) alongside Pele and Ronaldo.

Each of the forward's past six Brazil goals have come via the penalty spot and he now has 76 goals for his country – just one short of all-time scorer Pele.

Vinicius Junior had earlier given Brazil the lead, while Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta were also on target inside the opening 36 minutes.

It is just the second time in their World Cup history Brazil have scored four goals in the first half of a match, previously doing so against Mexico in 1954.

Having toiled in wins over Serbia and Switzerland, before losing to Cameroon when heavily rotating, Brazil laid down a marker with their superb showing against South Korea.

The five-time world champions, who have advanced from their past eight last-16 ties, will face Croatia following the 2018 beaten finalists' earlier penalty shoot-out win over Japan.

"We have to plan to go further," Neymar said. "We are dreaming of the title, but we will take it step by step.

"This was our fourth game today and there are three more to go. We are very prepared and focused on getting this title."

Thomas Muller has been advised to prioritise his club career by Lothar Matthaus, after the Bayern Munich man said he may retire from international football following Germany's poor World Cup.

Muller started all three of Germany's games in Qatar, but failed to record a single shot on target as Hansi Flick's side suffered a humiliating group-stage exit, their second in as many tournaments.

In the immediate aftermath of Germany's elimination, the Bayern Munich forward described the team's campaign as a "disaster" and said he will take time to consider his future in international football.

Writing for Sky Sports in Germany, Matthaus – the World's Cup's record appearance-maker with 25 games at the tournament – hinted the 33-year-old may benefit from stepping away.

"Of course, Thomas Muller is of a certain age and had a few phases before the World Cup in which he was injured. I know such phases," Matthaus said.

"I could only advise Thomas personally because I may have stopped concentrating fully on the club too late. When he did that for a year or two, he had his best time. 

"But if he wants to keep playing, he should do it when Hansi Flick needs him. I don't want to push anyone to resign, the player has to make that decision together with the coach."

 

Muller previously spent two years in the international wilderness under Flick's predecessor Joachim Low, who refused to consider the attacker – as well as defenders Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng – between March 2019 and the beginning of Euro 2020 last year.

The forward enjoyed one of his most successful club campaigns during that spell, helping Bayern win the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal trophies in the 2019-20 season.

Muller has scored 10 World Cup goals during his illustrious career, a tally only bettered by three of his compatriots – Miroslav Klose (16), Gerd Muller (14) and Jurgen Klinsmann (11).

Meanwhile, Jamal Musiala was one of few Germany players to emerge with any credit for his performances in Qatar, and Matthaus believes he is a contender to assume Muller's role.  

"We don't have any leading players like him [Muller] in his position in the national team, but we have many players who can grow into this role and spin behind the forwards, like Musiala and [Kai] Havertz," the former captain added. 

Brazil paid tribute to legendary forward Pele following a commanding 4-1 victory over South Korea that sealed their World Cup quarter-final place.

Vinicius Junior, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta were all on target at Stadium 974 as Tite's side cruised through to the last eight in Qatar, where they will face Croatia on Friday. 

A message posted from his Twitter account earlier in the day revealed Pele would be watching the match from his hospital bed, where he was moved to last Tuesday.

The Selecao responded after the full-time whistle by parading a banner on the pitch with a picture of the three-time World Cup winner. 

Amid unconfirmed reports he had been moved to palliative care after failing to respond to chemotherapy treatment, the hospital housing the 82-year-old described his condition as "stable."

Pele moved to ease fears surrounding his health with a post to his Instagram account on Saturday, saying he remained "strong, with a lot of hope."

Josko Gvardiol remains "totally happy" at RB Leipzig with "no hurry" to rush into a pre-transfer agreement amid growing links to Real Madrid and Chelsea.

That was the message from the centre-back's agent Marjan Sisic as Gvardiol continues to impress at the World Cup with Croatia, who beat Japan on penalties to reach the quarter-finals on Monday.

Chelsea reportedly had a £77million (€90m) offer rejected before the start of the season before the 20-year-old signed a new contract with Leipzig.

Madrid are said to have joined the growing list of Europe's elite clubs interested in the defender, though Sisic insists his client will not be forced into making a quick decision on his future.

"Regarding a possible transfer in summer 2023, we are in no hurry and I can make clear that there are no pre-agreements with any clubs," Sisic told Sky Sport Germany.

"For sure, a lot of top clubs have shown interest in him but Josko has a long-term contract in Leipzig.

"Josko feels totally happy in Leipzig. His development is amazing and RB is playing very well under Marco Rose."

Gvardiol has become a reliable figure for Zlatko Dalic in Qatar, ranking second among Croatia players for successful passes (281) and joint-third for tackles won (three).

No player managed more than the Leipzig defender's eight clearances and two interceptions in the round-of-16 clash with Japan in yet another astute performance.

Croatia team-mate Borna Barisic believes Gvardiol displays experience that belies his age, stating he has "everything in football".

"Josko is an amazing player. I think you can see that when he plays. He plays like he has 100 caps for the national team," Barisic said after the Japan triumph.

"That's [what happens] when God gives you everything in football. That's what he has. I think he will have an absolutely amazing career. He's a top player and a top guy.

"Sometimes when I'm looking at him, when he speaks before the game or in training also, it's like it's just some game without any pressure, like he's playing with some friends.

"He's very, very relaxed, but that's coming from confidence. He has crazy confidence because he knows how good he is."

Brazil produced the best display of Qatar 2022 so far with an emphatic 4-1 victory over South Korea at Stadium 974 on Monday to set up a quarter-final tie with Croatia.

The Selecao were four goals up inside 36 minutes – only the second time in their World Cup history they have scored four times in the first half of a match – in a one-sided tie.

Neymar returned to Brazil's line-up – back to full strength after their 1-0 loss to Cameroon – and he netted from the penalty spot after Vinicius Junior had opened the scoring.

Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta put the game well out of reach and there was no way back for South Korea, though they did have a moment so savour courtesy of Paik Seung-ho's goal in the second half.

Raphinha pulled the ball back for Vinicius to curl into the top-right corner after seven minutes and Brazil had a quickfire second goal when Neymar converted from the penalty spot.

Richarlison won that penalty after being caught by Jung Woo-young, and he was himself among the goals when finishing after Thiago Silva picked him out with a first-time pass.

Brazil were completely out of sight by the interval as Paqueta rounded off another fine attack that culminated in Vinicius clipping the ball into his path to volley home.

A double change at the interval led to an improved display from South Korea, who after forcing Alisson into a few saves scored through a long-range Paik strike that took a deflection.

What does it mean? Samba stars put on a show

Brazil toiled for large parts of their wins over Serbia and Switzerland prior to suffering a shock defeat to Cameroon, but back at full strength here they laid down a real marker.

South Korea's first knockout-stage game in this competition since 2010 could not have gone much worse, with Tite's men out of sight well before half-time.

Five-time winners Brazil have advanced from their past eight World Cup last-16 ties and will now face 2018 beaten finalists Croatia, who earlier defeated Japan on penalties.

Brazil find their scoring touch

Brazil scored a rather underwhelming three goals from 57 shots in the group stage, compared to three goals from their first five efforts against South Korea.

The Selecao were a lot more clinical than they were in the first round, though their opponents' set-up also played right into their hands – a mistake Croatia will surely not make.

Returning Neymar back among the goals

Neymar was back in the side after missing the past two games through injury and he registered his 76th goal for Brazil, placing him one short of Pele's all-time record.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar, whose past six goals for the Selecao have come from the penalty spot, will look to match and surpass the Brazil great in Qatar.

What's next?

Brazil have that quarter-final tie with Croatia to look forward to in Al Rayyan on Friday, while South Korea's campaign in Qatar is now over.

Harry Kane saluted Jordan Henderson's leadership qualities following his goal in England's 3-0 victory over Senegal.

The Three Lions vice-captain opened the scoring with a neat first-time finish from Jude Bellingham's square pass while Kane doubled the lead, before Bukayo Saka's second-half strike secured the Three Lions' World Cup quarter-final place in Qatar.

Aged 32 years and 170 days, Henderson became England's second-oldest scorer at the finals, after Tom Finney against USSR in 1958 (36 years, 64 days).

Gareth Southgate's side have looked a more cohesive unit since the Liverpool skipper was introduced into the starting line-up for their final Group B match against Wales, and Kane highlighted his impact on the team.

"He's one of the best leaders that I've played with," the Three Lions captain told England's official YouTube channel. "He's really vocal, he pushes players to the absolute max.

"That's why he's been great in the games he's played. [He's} outstanding with the ball, outstanding without the ball, pushing everyone. The way we've been pressing – it's good to hear him behind me pushing.

"You need different types of leaders amongst your team. I think we have four or five different types of personalities.

"Hendo's someone who – it doesn't matter who you are, what you've done – he'll keep pushing you.

"It was an amazing performance [against Senegal] by him, [it was] great to see him score. A lot of the other good stuff was down to his role in the team."

Henderson has 73 caps to his name, but Sunday's goal was only his third on the international stage.

Jude Bellingham has been the best young player at the World Cup so far and could make the difference in England's bid to capture the trophy, according to Alan Shearer.

The Borussia Dortmund star scored England's first goal of the tournament in a 6-2 thrashing of Iran in the group stage, and produced another masterful midfield display in Sunday's last-16 win over Senegal.

Bellingham leads his team-mates for dribbles completed (six) and possessions won (23) in Qatar, while only Luke Shaw (72) has bettered his tally of 48 passes ending in the final third.  

The 19-year-old's all-round ability has seen him touted as a contender to be named the young player of the tournament, and Shearer believes his presence has improved England considerably. 

"England did very well at their past couple of tournaments, but I think there is a difference this time," the former striker wrote in a column for BBC Sport.

"Four years ago, we were not the most talented side at the World Cup, but we were well-organised, had fantastic team spirit and great character, and that took us to the semi-finals.

"This time we are definitely a better team, ability-wise, than we were at Russia 2018 or last year's European Championship where we lost in the final.

"We still have a plan, and that same togetherness, but we have more experience, more depth – and we have got a very exciting young talent in Jude Bellingham too.

"Bellingham has probably been the young player of this World Cup so far. His performance against Senegal was unbelievably good, and he brings something different to this England team that we didn't have four years ago.

"With him driving forward from midfield, we look more dangerous – we are far more fluid now when we build attacks, wherever they start."

England will face holders France for a place in the last four on Saturday, when Gareth Southgate's side must find a way to contain Kylian Mbappe – the tournament's top scorer with five goals. 

However, Shearer believes keeping the Paris Saint-Germain star quiet is no guarantee of success against Les Bleus.

"You need to do more than keep [Harry] Kane quiet to keep England out, and it is the same with France and Mbappe," he added.

"Antoine Griezmann and Adrien Rabiot are having brilliant tournaments, Aurelien Tchouameni has really impressed me and, while Ousmane Dembele can blow hot and cold, if he is on form that night then he is a handful.

"Then you have Olivier Giroud, of course, who is now France's record men's goalscorer. It could be a shoot-out between our front five and theirs – and it is going to be great to watch."

Reece James has returned to training with Chelsea after being omitted from England's World Cup squad due to injury.

The full-back was left out of Gareth Southgate's 26-man travelling squad to Qatar, where England face France in the quarter-finals on Saturday, after being sidelined since October 11 with a knee issue.

Southgate referenced "too many unknowns" over the Chelsea defender's recovery for leaving out James, who sustained the injury in a Champions League clash with Milan.

James spoke openly of his disappointment to miss out on FIFA's top tournament as he acknowledged "there was risk on both sides but it was one I was willing to take".

The 22-year-old returned to training on Monday for Chelsea's first session in Abu Dhabi at their warm-weather training camp as Graham Potter's side seek improvements after the World Cup break.

Chelsea lost their last three Premier League games before the mid-season interval to leave Potter's men eight points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, albeit with a game in hand.

A downturn in form coincided with losing numerous key players to injury, with Wesley Fofana, Ben Chilwell and Kepa Arrizabalaga joining James as absentees.

Fofana and Chilwell, the latter who also missed out on the World Cup with England due to injury, will hope to be fit for Chelsea's Premier League return at home to Bournemouth on December 27.

Chelsea next face Aston Villa in a mid-season friendly in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

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