Football fans are rallying around Harry Kane after the England captain's late penalty miss proved costly in a 2-1 quarter-final defeat to France that ends the Three Lions' World Cup hopes. Kane scored one penalty in the second half to cancel out Aurelien Tchouameni's thunderous opener for France, but the England captain missed the decisive second from the sport after Olivier Giroud had fired France back ahead.
Victory for Didier Deschamps' World Cup holders France sets up an intriguing semi-final showdown against Morocco, who stunned Portugal 1-0 in the day's earlier match to become the first African side in history to make the semi-finals of a FIFA World Cup. Les Bleus are attempting to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to win back-to-back World Cups.
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However, the French can consider themselves somewhat fortunate against a determined England side that will be rueing its missed chances. Manager Gareth Southgate - himself no stranger to penalty heartbreak - once again saw his nation's hopes on the world stage, evaporate from the spot.
Kane's first goal saw him equal Wayne Rooney's all-time goals record for England (53) but the skipper couldn't repeat the feat when the Three Lions were given another opportunity late on to equalise from the spot. Kane blasted the ball wildly over the crossbar, with Rooney among the many gutted English supporters to react to the heartbreaking defeat.
😱 OVER THE BAR! 😱
Harry Kane has FAILED to get England back on level terms! 😨
📺 WATCH: https://t.co/5b1fKpuEv7
📻 LISTEN: https://t.co/Mc8ZSp3Bh3 #SBSWorldCup #WeAllSpeakFootball #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/Jc3nK96dIl
— SBS Sport (@SBSSportau) December 10, 2022
Absolutely gutted for the lads but proud of the way they’ve played this tournament and they should be proud. Congratulations to @HKane on equalling the record, he’ll be on his own soon and couldn’t think of anyone better to take over. Keep your head up Harry 💪🏼🏴 @England
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) December 10, 2022
Gareth Southgate was there to console Harry Kane after the final whistle ❤️ pic.twitter.com/eynZD8Mpki
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 10, 2022
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 10, 2022
Harry Kane comes across as a really decent person. I loved how he approached his time at Millwall. I feel awful for him. Wind your necks in having a pop.
— Dmitri Old (@DmitriusOld) December 10, 2022
— Ruthipegs 💙🦖🦕🇺🇦 (@Ruthless1984) December 10, 2022
Think it’s mental that people are angrily tweeting hate to Harry Kane about his penalty miss. I’m heartbroken too, but until we’ve stood over a ball 12 yards from goal, with an ENTIRE nation’s hope on our back, we’ll never know. It’s a penalty. Nobody is more gutted than Kane rn.
— Jaack (@Jaack) December 10, 2022
Gutted. Fine Margins. Love Harry Kane. Been fully entertained by this whole World Cup. Going to bed.
— Stuart Broad (@StuartBroad8) December 10, 2022
England fullback Kyle Walker spoke before the match about how much he relished the challenge of trying to contain France superstar Kylian Mbappe and that battle set the tone for a cagey opening. England were cautious with the ball in an apparent attempt to guard against Mbappe's threat.
The dangerous French did break the deadlock in the 17th minute though, after England attempted what was up until that point, a rare foray forward. Walker went on the offensive for the first time, but Bukayo Saka lost possession in a challenge unpunished by lenient Brazilian referee Wilton Pereira Sampaio. France quickly moved the ball on to Mbappe, away from Walker at last, and he rode Declan Rice's attempt at a foul to drive into the final third.
Aurelien Tchouameni gives France early lead
France moved the ball slickly and with intent and soon found Tchouameni in what admittedly was only a little bit of space in front of the England goal square. Incredibly, that's all the Real Madrid midfielder needed as he took one touch to control, before arrowing in from 25 yards to open the scoring.
PICK THAT OUT! 😲
Aurelien Tchouameni arrows one in to give the defending champions the lead! 🔥
📺 WATCH: https://t.co/5b1fKpcvgZ
📻 LISTEN: https://t.co/Mc8ZSpkEj3 #SBSWorldCup #WeAllSpeakFootball #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/5mxhoZ6kOl
— SBS Sport (@SBSSportau) December 10, 2022
England could easily have retreated back into the shells after seeing the ruthlessness with which France punished them when they did try and take the game to the reigning champions. However, Southgate urged his players forward again, with England enjoying a dominant period before halftime.
The Three Lions twice forced Hugo Lloris to save well from Kane, who might have had a penalty when he was tripped by Dayot Upamecano on the border of the box. The VAR checked the incident but because it was outside the box, no free kick was given after the referee waved play-on initially.
England's reward for their industrious approach came after the restart when the lively Saka invited the foul from Tchouameni after a smart one-two with Jude Bellingham, and the spot-kick was awarded. Kane, faced by Tottenham teammate Hugo Lloris in France's goal, picked out his favourite spot to equal Rooney's England goals record and, more importantly, the match.
As if stunned by a goal that had been coming, it was France's turn to rally and set in motion the sort of back-and-forth every neutral hoped this might be. Jordan Pickford saved well from Adrien Rabiot seconds later, before Harry Maguire's header grazed the post and then Giroud drew another stop from the England goalkeeper.
France smelled blood and had their lead again when Antoine Griezmann crossed superbly and France's own record goals scorer Giroud got in front of England defender Harry Maguire to head past Jordan Pickford. There still could have been another twist as Theo Hernandez barged Mason Mount to the ground and a lengthy VAR review resulted in a second England spot-kick.
But those fine margins frustrated Kane and England, who will be coming home without football once more. Marcus Rashford's free-kick flashed agonisingly over the crossbar right at the end, summing up the Three Lions' night.
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