In England’s convincing 3-0 win over Senegal, The Three Lions progressed to the quarterfinals of the World Cup for their second successive tournament.

Prior to the game, I wanted to see Gareth Southgate give more of the squad a chance to play. Predictably, he stayed with almost the same team that beat Wales. Southgate dropped Marcus Rashford and started Buyako Saka in his place. Given Rashford’s form, it was quite a frustrating choice.

Could this be the year?

I’m one of those England fans that is always skeptical and cynical. I’ve been burned too many times in the past. It protects me from the inevitable disappointment when England crash out of the tournament. Something feels different this time.

I have not had too much hope in this tournament even though this England team has delivered. Aside from the tie with the USA, England have won 6-2, 3-0, and 3-0. These wins have all been convincing. At no point have England yet been behind in a game.

The real test lies ahead

Things might be about to change though. England face France in the quarterfinals. Other than the surprise loss to Tunisia, France have been just as dominant as England. The 2018 winners look likely to defend their title. And who would bet against Kylian Mbappé making the score sheet? The superstar has five goals from four games.

The match up between England and France has the caliber of a game we’d expect to see in the final. Whoever wins surely has to believe they can go all the way. The victor of this match will have credibility if they do go on to win the whole thing.

England’s fiercest critics have pointed to favorable draws playing a part of their recent success. A win in the quarterfinals would silence critics. A convincing win would silence everyone.

Guide to World Cup 2022

Here are some resources to help you get the most out of the biggest event in soccer!
TV Schedule: All the info on where and when to watch every game
The Groups: We breakdown each group and all the teams
The Kits: Check out what every team will be wearing on the field this fall
Predictor: Play out every scenario with our World Cup Predictor
World Cup Bracket: Map out the entire tournament, from the groups to the final