Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day-by-day TV listingsFull coverage details

It is a match many England fans have had in their mind as a possibility since the World Cup fixtures were announced: France in the quarter-finals.

It is the toughest test so far for Gareth Southgate and his Three Lions. How will they line up and deal with the current holders, and one of the most impressive teams in the tournament so far?

The game itself will be historic: It is the first time the men’s sides have met in a knockout game in any competition, and the first time at a World Cup since 1982.

It will feature leading France forward and Golden Boot contender Kylian Mbappe, and Jude Bellingham, the England midfielder whose name is on everyone’s lips. Will either of them make the difference?

England have scored 12 goals so far, and France nine – so will Saturday’s game, which kicks off at 19:00 GMT, be a thriller, or a cagey encounter? Will it go to penalties?

The two managers, Southgate and Didier Deschamps, have given their pre-match thoughts. This is what you need to know…

‘Some of our defeats will prepare us for this night’

England have grown into the tournament, with their 3-0 win over Senegal in the last 16 perhaps their most impressive performance so far.

Southgate led England to the semi-finals of the last World Cup, before they beaten in the final of Euro 2020 by Italy and he says those experiences are helping.

“In terms of our experiences, those big matches are important reference points for the team,” said Southgate.

“There have been some defeats that hurt that prepare you for nights like tomorrow, where you have to be the very best version of yourself. We are ready to fight France for that place in the semi-finals.”

It was a feeling that captain Harry Kane shared, saying his team “didn’t really know what to expect” during their run in 2018.

“We went with the belief we could win but it was almost a new experience for a lot of us,” said Kane. “We got to the semi-final and were over the moon but whether we had the full belief to go and win the tournament, I’m not sure.

“We have entered this tournament hoping and believing we can win it. We have to got to a stage we expected to be at and now it is about trying to push on.”

Asked what he would say to his players in the changing room pre-match, Southgate said: “Nothing at all. Harry [Kane] does it. By that point, the messages are done and the work is done. It is up to the players. We leave it to the players.”

Midfielder Jordan Henderson, who has started the past two games, told BBC Sport the game will be a “huge test” but it is about “producing on the biggest stage” and a chance to “show what we are capable of”.

‘England have no weaknesses’

England came into the competition facing questions, and criticism, over their style of play and they were reiterated after their drab 0-0 draw with USA in the group stage.

However, their other three games has seen attacking, free-flowing football and they are the tournament’s top scorers, while the goals have been shared around with eight different players scoring – and they have kept three three clean sheets too.

Asked what England’s weaknesses are, France head coach Deschamps replied: “They don’t have any.

“All teams have strengths, not all have many weaknesses, but slightly less strong points. At the end of the day, you need to identify areas where you think you can attack them.

“Pace is often one of the keys to the match. When quick, the opponent has less time to be organised. You need more than just pace to score goals. You can stop a lot of things but it’s very difficult to stop someone who is very quick, especially in transitions.

“England are very strong in that area and scored lots of goals with quick counter-attacks. They also have many other qualities in terms of technical ability, capacity to score goals and being dangerous on set pieces.

“It’s not by chance they are facing us in the quarter-finals.”

France go into the game with defender Jules Kounde and midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni each on a yellow card, and both would miss a potential semi-final if they were cautioned, but Deschamps said “you can’t expect them to play with the handbrake on”.

“They are going to have to dig deep and give everything,” said Deschamps, who is out of contract after this tournament.

“I think playing with the handbrake on will be the worst thing we can do.”

Deschamps added that France “are calm and very serene” and have “top focus on each match because there is no point being stressed and putting yourself under pressure”.

A graphic showing Kylian Mbappe's stats: 33% goal conversion, 59 mins per goal, 67% shot accuracy and 13 players have scored more World Cup goals than Kylian Mbappe

Sterling back in the England squad – team news

Southgate has a 25-man squad to select from against France after forward Raheem Sterling returned to Qatar and trained with the squad.

Midfielder Declan Rice, who had missed training because of illness on Wednesday, was again involved in the session, easing concerns about his readiness to play.

Striker Callum Wilson has been nursing a slight muscle strain, but also trained and showed no signs of injury.

France are likely to be unchanged from their last-16 over Poland, with Mbappe having returned to training after being given a day to rest on Tuesday.

How can I watch and follow England v France?

ITV are showing the match live with post-match highlights and clips on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website.

There will be full-match commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sounds. Coverage begins at 12:00 GMT and includes commentary on Morocco and Portugal at 15:00.

The BBC Sport website will have live text commentary and there will also be a live text providing pre-match news throughout the day.