Defending champion France holds off England
Harry Kane misses penalty as World Cup winners France knock England into semis
Defending World Cup champion France remain on track to defend their title after beating England 2-1. To reach the semi-finals at the 2022 Olympics in Qatar.
Aurélien Tchouaméni gave France a first-half lead and set the game on fire with a powerful strike at the Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday.
England grew in the game, with team captain Harry Kane focusing on converting from the penalty spot to 2018 semi-final level. It was his 53rd goal for his country, making him tied with Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time top scorer.
Olivier Giroud’s header gave the defending champions the lead again with over 10 minutes remaining. Before Kane’s late penalty sealed France’s victory.
France will face Morocco in Wednesday’s semi-final. They are the first African team to reach this stage of the World Cup after defeating Portugal earlier in the day.
France’s victory was confirmed by Didier Deschamps’ team. Became the first defending champion to reach the quarter-finals in this century.
Giroud called France’s performance “amazing”.
At the end of the game with our last chance, we knew how to be dangerous. I knew I would have another chance and Grizi gave me a great pass – said Giroud to the website of the French Football Federation.
He was referring to Antoine Griezmann, who set up France’s winner with a superb cross.
Tonight, it was a good game. We knew the talent of this young generation in England. We played very hard. We tried to play a strong role in the counter attack.
Clash of Titans
This is a match between two of the final four teams of the 2018 World Cup. Where both countries are seen as heavyweight contenders to win the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Even in the early exchanges, when the two teams were testing each other, the importance of the moment was evident.
The first real chance of the game came after 10 minutes when Giroud fired a cross straight into England’s goal for Jordan Pickford’s gratitude.
The Frenchman’s breakthrough was not without controversy.
England winger Bukayo Saka was sent off after a tackle by France defender Deot Upmechano. However, Brazilian referee Wilton Sampaio dismissed England’s protest by calling a foul.
After Kylian Mbappe’s quick counter-attack, England put France ahead with Choumeny’s shot from outside the corner. His first World Cup goal.
Minutes later, the England players again begged Sampaio to make a decision for them.
After a brief discussion with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), these requests were dismissed. After that the game continues.
Chances were few and far between for the rest of the first half. And came closest to Ken. His Tottenham team-mate Hugo Lloris saved his shot from close range in the French goal.
Just after the second half, England fired. Jude Bellingham’s powerful shot from the edge of the box was saved by Lloris.
Saka was fouled by Chumeni. The referee pointed to the penalty spot. The pressure finally showed, giving England a golden chance to equalise.
Kane made the most of it, flicking the ball into the France corner to join former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney as England’s top scorer.
France regained the lead almost immediately after the restart but Adrien Rabiot’s first shot from the edge of the box was saved by Pickford.
England looked favorites to score with Harry Maguire’s header over the post before Gareth Southgate’s side piled on the pressure.
After the game, France regained the lead with their all-time top scorer. Giroud put France back in the lead with just over 10 minutes remaining.
England had a second golden chance to equalize after Theo Hernandez fouled Mason Mount. Sampaio awarded the second after VAR reviewed the incident.Two penalties.
This time, however, Kane’s shot went over the bar.
Despite continued pressure, England were unable to find a late equaliser, with Marcus Rashford’s late free-kick firing into the top of the net.
And, as the referee blew the final whistle, the French players gathered to celebrate as Kane dropped to his knees in despair.
England manager Gareth Southgate said his side’s performance deserves better but final goals are decisive.
I said to the players, I don’t think they can give more, – Southgate told ITV. Slim margins dictate games and the progress we have made in this tournament has been outstanding.
France know they’ve been in one hell of a game. We win together, we lose together. We concede a few goals and miss a few chances. If it weren’t for the goals (Kane) scored for us, we would have Not here.
After the final whistle it was asked whether the defeat had cost England the chance to progress to the 2022 Qatar Olympics.
England midfielder Jordan Henderson told ITV. He replies, probably yes, because we feel so good. Performance is very good.
Every day the focus and the hunger was good, but unfortunately it wasn’t our night. You have to give credit to France, they are a good team, but I still think we can win tonight.
Henderson added that, After the game it was hard to find the right words. I thought we gave everything in the following game.
You know, it’s disappointing to go unbeaten but I think the character and the mentality to go forward in the second half and find the equaliser… We gave everything and unfortunately it wasn’t our night.