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  • 2011October 3

    England and France set up World Cup quarter final clash

    England and France set up World Cup quarter final clash

    Despite losing to Tonga in the last of their group stage matches, France finished second in their group, setting up a quarter final match against old rivals England.

    With Ireland's early defeat over Australia, the tournament has been divided into northern and southern hemisphere games, with the two not set to meet until the final.

    As France finished behind New Zealand in their group, they are set to play England in the first of the knockout stages. Also, with all of the last weekend's matches being played in front of capacity crowds in their rugby t shirts, the atmosphere is set to soar as the knockout stages begin.

    With France having lost to Tonga, many see England as the firm favourites. However, with Delon Armitage having to sit out the match for a high tackle against Scotland's Chris Patterson, as well as a very tight game against the Scots, the match could be a close-fought one.

    Someone who knows the French game well is James Haskell, who told BBC Sport: "You always have to respect the French.

    "Individually they have great talent, and having played in France for two years I know that if they get the mental side right they can turn up and beat anyone in the world. They're waiting for a big performance and they're always prickly during a World Cup. It'll be a big challenge."

    Haskell's comments were echoed by teammate Nick Easter, who told The Telegraph: "I guess you never quite know what to expect from France.

    "The more we try to get shot of that old cliché about them being unpredictable, the more they remain true to it."