Ahead of today’s World Cup quarter-final, here’s the real England v. France match-up – a sneak preview of data from the Bachtrack Annual Statistics for 2022, showing the classical composers from those countries whose works were among the most performed in the year.

The England team definitely has youth on its side, with an average age of 136 compared to France’s 178 – and that’s in spite of having the oldest player on the field, 363-year old Henry Purcell. In particular, that shows in the front line of Adès, Blake and Clyne, all of whom are still alive – the only contemporary composers in either line-up. At just 42, Clyne is the youngster on the pitch.

England team
© Bachtrack

Both teams have only one woman (Anna Clyne, Lili Boulanger) but the British team is distinguished by having the only composer of colour (Samuel Coleridge-Taylor).

It’s in midfield that the French team truly shines. In fact, you can argue that their team is composed almost entirely of midfielders, with nine of the eleven players born in the 19th century.

France team
© Bachtrack

Will England’s ABC front line be able to beat the French defence? We can only speculate...

Field positions were allocated by date of birth; clubs were allocated by the nearest Premier League or Ligue 1 club to the composer’s birthplace (London clubs were chosen at random). Offenbach was a late exclusion from the French team on grounds of being discovered to be a German spy.

The Bachtrack Annual Statistics 2022 will be out in the first week of January. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to receive them.