Harry Kane was England’s penalty hero, then villain, as the Three Lions were edged out in a dramatic quarter-final against France.
- Harry Kane scores one penalty but misses another as England crash out
- Tchouameni and Giroud on target to send holders France through
- Neither team deserved to lose a fantastic match full of first-rate football
England 1-2 France
Goals: England – Kane (54′ pen); France – Tchouameni (17′), Giroud (78′)
France will take on Morocco in the Qatar 2022 semi-finals after a thrilling, topsy-turvy 2-1 win over England at Al Bayt Stadium.
Olivier Giroud’s deflected second-half header ultimately proved to be the winner after Harry Kane blazed over a late penalty, having earlier scored from the spot to cancel out Aurelien Tchouameni’s beautifully struck opener.
Much was expected of this clash of two European titans, and the game more than lived up to its lofty billing. Neither team was able to maintain control as momentum shifted one direction, then the other, with England starting the brighter before France capitalised on a short spell of pressure.
Few would have predicted the scorer, though, even if Tchouameni looked like a natural marksman as he smashed a right-footed shot into the bottom-left corner from 25 yards for his first-ever competitive goal for Les Bleus.
The remainder of the first half then became something of a personal battle between Kane and Hugo Lloris, club-mates at Tottenham Hotspur, with the keeper racing from his goal to save at the striker’s feet before agilely tipping away a deflected 20-yard effort.
England’s captain would not be denied, however, and claimed a deserved England equaliser nine minutes into the second half with a trademark penalty into the top-left corner after the lively Bukayo Saka had been upended.
Both teams created chances in the spell that followed, with Jordan Pickford producing one particularly impressive save to divert a net-bound Giroud volley behind for a corner. France’s record scorer, like Kane, was undeterred though, and was rewarded when his near-post header from Antoine Griezmann’s inviting cross flashed past Pickford via a touch off Harry Maguire.
Game over and drama at an end? No chance. England earned another penalty soon after a needless Theo Hernandez shove on the back of Mason Mount was penalised following a VAR check. Kane again stepped up, aiming for the same combination of power and precision, but this time his normally flawless technique let him down and the ball flew wildly over.
England huffed and puffed thereafter, with Marcus Rashford curling just over from a late free-kick. But the holders held on in this breathless encounter, albeit only just, and can now look forward to a last-four date with Qatar 2022’s surprise package.
There are few more reliable penalty takers in world football than Kane. He won the adidas Golden Boot in 2018 largely as a result of his expertise from the spot, having scored just once from open play.
But although England expected the net to bulge when he stepped up for a second time at Al Bayt Stadium, he sent the ball high into the stands and extended the Three Lions’ agonising wait for major tournament success.
With his 53rd international goal coming via the first of those penalties, Kane had equalled Wayne Rooney’s national scoring record. The Three Lions captain, Russia 2018’s top scorer, reached this impressive tally in 40 fewer appearances (80 to 120) than his former team-mate required. All the same, thanks to that second spot kick, it will be a night that will remain in his memory for all the wrong reasons.
Player of the match
- Olivier Giroud