France will not focus on any particular player when they take on England in a mouth-watering World Cup quarter-final on Saturday, defender Ibrahima Konate said.
England have an impressive midfield and can rely on the in-form Harry Kane up front, but danger can come from anywhere and the defending champions will not obsess over the Tottenham Hotspur striker.
“Kane is a great player. I’ve played against him several times,” Liverpool centre back Konate told a news conference on Wednesday.
“We have to look at the whole team, not just one player. If we play together, and stay compact we can do well. I would not target a single player.
“Soccer is not played with one, two or four players. We have to talk about the collective, how to mess with them collectively. It’s the coach’s job to show us what we don’t see.”
Konate’s point of view is all the more understandable given that eight different England players have scored a total of 12 goals in their first four games.
On the other hand, Kylian Mbappe has scored five of France’s nine goals with Olivier Giroud netting three, making the threats more identifiable for England coach Gareth Southgate.
Midfielder Adrien Rabiot, however, does not believe it is a problem for Les Bleus.
“We’re not dependent on Kylian. We just know that 80-90% of our goals will come from him as he can also deliver assists, and our job is to put him in the best conditions for that,” the Juventus player, the only other French player to score in Qatar, said.
Mbappe did not take part in Tuesday’s group training session, but the French federation said he was doing recovery work on his own, adding that this was normal two days after a game.
“Yesterday was a short session, there is nothing to worry about, he was doing some work inside,” said Konate.