Penalties condemn England again as France knock out Three Lions


AL KHOR, Qatar — World Cup holders France advanced to the semi-finals in Qatar after Olivier Giroud’s 78th-minute header earned Didier Deschamps’ side a 2-1 victory against England at the Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday.

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Aurélien Tchouameni’s superb 17th-minute strike was canceled out by Harry Kane’s 54th-minute penalty, but after Giroud restored France’s lead, the England captain missed a second free-kick when he presented a chance to equalize six minutes later. Blues held off a final fight from England, hanging on to secure their place in the last four.

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Quick reaction

1. Penalties cost England again

This time it wasn’t a shootout, but England are ruled out of the World Cup after their most reliable penalty taker – one of the best in the world – misses a kick from 12 yards out. six minutes from the end. Kane had already scored a penalty earlier in the game, equaling Wayne Rooney’s all-time England goalscoring record in the process, but when he got up again to face Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Hugo Lloris with an opportunity to level a finely balanced game at 2-2 late, he uncharacteristically launched his effort over the crossbar. It was only the fourth time he had missed for England on 21 attempts.

In the build-up to the game, Kane played down any familiarity issues with Lloris.

“Amazingly, I didn’t train too much against Hugo, I would normally train against the second or third choice goalkeeper the day before the game when you normally train with them,” Kane said. “I took them against him, but I wouldn’t say tons and tons, but I have the same against Premier League goalkeepers when I come up against an English goalkeeper, I stick to my process and I’m sticking to training before the game.”

Kane scored against Lloris in a friendly in June 2017, but when it mattered most the 29-year-old – who has been in fine form throughout that tournament – came up short, conjuring up memories of the defeat England final in Euro 2020 shootout against Italy. last summer – and all the penalty drama from the previous seven tournament outings by this mode.

2. Giroud continues to prove invaluable

Giroud spent nine years in England with Arsenal and Chelsea but was not always fully appreciated. His longevity has been remarkable, and at 36, replacing Karim Benzema after the Real Madrid striker missed this tournament through injury, he made the defining contribution in the World Cup quarter-finals with an excellent header, beating Harry Maguire on the cross from the left wing of Antoine Griezmann.

Giroud broke Thierry Henry’s all-time men’s goalscoring record for France in their round of 16 win over Poland, after which Deschamps said: “He’s had some tough times in his career. He’s often been criticized, but people are now seeing its quality.”

Some of those difficult times were in England, but his big-game mentality prevailed here. France won a game of beautiful moments as their experience in the later stages of major tournaments – and as defending champions – told of it, and Giroud embodied that strength of character.

Much of the pre-match attention was on Kylian Mbappe’s battle with Kyle Walker – France’s first goal came in part from the first time Walker stepped onto the pitch, only for the England lose possession – but in the end, after Tchouameni’s superb first-half strike, Griezmann and Giroud were the combination that made it into the Three Lions.

3. Will Southgate continue after England falter against another elite nation?

England manager Gareth Southgate has a contract until 2024, but there was a degree of speculation as to whether he would have the will to continue after six years at the helm, particularly given the criticism he has received. received this summer when England were relegated from the Nations. League, much of it coming from a section of Three Lions supporters. However, the team’s progress under Southgate is undeniable, coming so close to England’s first victory in a major tournament since 1966. And both the manner of that narrow loss to France and the composition of a squad young and dynamic should encourage him to continue, but England ultimately fell short trying to beat an elite nation in a knockout tie away from Wembley.

He can’t be accused of being overly cautious here, sticking to a 4-3-3 form designed to give Jude Bellingham the chance to affect play while Bukayo Saka (who was excellent) and Phil Foden operated in support of Kane, trying to beat France as equals rather than contain and counterattack. Southgate has overseen six of England’s 15 wins in knockout football, but their away wins have come against Colombia and Sweden in Russia, Ukraine in Rome last summer and Senegal in Qatar .

Southgate has done so much to deconstruct the usual failures of English tournaments, but this inability to beat a top side on the road is a glass ceiling that takes extra effort to break.

Player ratings (1=worst, 10=best)

England: Jordan Pickford 7, Kyle Walker 6, John Stones 6, Harry Maguire 6, Luke Shaw 6, Jordan Henderson 6, Declan Rice 7, Jude Bellingham 7, Bukayo Saka 8, Harry Kane 7, Phil Foden 7

submarines: Mason Mount 6, Marcus Rashford 6, Raheem Sterling 6, Jack Grealish 6

France: Hugo Lloris 7, Jules Kounde 7, Raphaël Varane 7, Dayot Upamecano 6, Théo Hernandez 5, Adrien Rabiot 7, Aurélien Tchouameni 7, Ousmane Dembele 7, Antoine Griezmann 9, Kylian Mbappe 7, Olivier Giroud 8

Subtitles: Kingsley Coman 6

Best and Worst Performers

BEST: Antoine Griezmann, France. Two more assists, the second of which was a superb cross from the left for Giroud’s winning goal.

WORST: Theo Hernandez, France. Wrong penalty to concede when bursting into the back of the mount – a decision that was only made worse by the referee’s inability to give it on the first viewing.

Highlights and Moments

Ahead of the match, FIFA honored longtime American journalist Grant Wahl, who died early Saturday morning after falling ill while covering Friday’s quarter-final between Argentina and the Netherlands.

Absolute agony for Captain Kane, and the Three Lions penalty curse continues.

After the game: What players and managers said

Henderson on Kane: “We know how many penalties Harry has scored for us, how many goals he has helped to even get us here. He will be stronger for that in the future. He is a world class striker and our captain, he will bounce back. “

Giroud: “England played a great game and I would like to tell them that we are proud to have beaten such a great team.”

Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

– It was the eighth time England had conceded the opening goal in a World Cup knockout tie; the Three Lions won only one of those matches: the 1966 final against West Germany.

– Kane’s fourth career goal from the penalty spot in the World Cup ties Rob Rensenbrink, Gabriel Batistuta and Eusebio for most of all time by any male player.

– Kane’s missed penalty is the first England have failed to convert in a World Cup game (excluding shootouts). They were 12 for 12 before.


England: The Three Lions return to action on March 23, when they travel to Italy for a Euro 2020 final rematch in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.

France: Blues march to the semifinals, where they will meet Morocco on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET.



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