Everything went right for Harry Kane at the World Cup until the semi-final as the England captain wasted a rare shot on target in the defeat to Croatia.
England were knocked out of the World Cup by Mario Mandzukic’s extra-time goal, but it could have been a far different story had Kane scored in the 30th minute.
Leading 1-0 after Kieran Trippier’s fifth-minute free kick, England almost made it two when Jesse Lingard squeezed a pass inside the box to Kane.
The skipper’s right-foot shot, however, went straight to Danijel Subasic – and he fluffed the rebound that bounced right in front of him.
The ball spun towards the goal line to the left of the post, and Kane was too slow to react to slam it home.
By the time he got another shot off, the angle was too tight.
Now, there is a complication: the assistant referee flagged Kane for being offside when he was played through.
Because he missed, it wasn’t checked by VAR – but the live angle suggested Kane was perhaps in line with the last defender. In any case, fans couldn’t believe his miss.
— Juan Cantalejo (@JdJCantalejo) July 11, 2018
Difference tonight? Two almost identical chances. One fell to Harry Kane and he missed. Other fell to Mandzukic and he scored. First one goes in, they're never getting back in the game. Small margins
— gary ogden (@gazza647) July 11, 2018
Big fan of Harry Kane and what he’s all about, but Jesus that miss 😩
— Kurtis Newcombe (@ITFCKurty) July 11, 2018
I could do withour ever seeing that Harry Kane miss again, terrible effort from a player of his calibre
— Cameron (@lawseyitfc) July 11, 2018
Harry Kane missed twice on this play. Just reminding everyone. pic.twitter.com/LkWailZrrU
— David Skinner (@davidwskinner_) July 11, 2018
That Harry Kane miss will haunt him for a while. Football will KILL you.
— Lindokuhle (@ROZA_Nangok) July 11, 2018
“We created some good chances when 1-0 up and maybe we dropped a bit deep at times, we didn’t get enough pressure on the ball,” Kane said after the match.
“It’s hard. In these big games it’s small margins and it went their way today.
“There’s a lot we could have done better, but they played well and they made it difficult for us.”
The semi-final appearance could be considered a bonus for England after Gareth Southgate was installed as manager in 2016 only after Sam Allardyce’s ill-fated 67-day reign.
“It’s going to hurt for a while, of course, but we can hold our heads up high,” Kane said.
“It’s been a fantastic journey. We got further than anyone else thought we would have, so we’ve just got to learn from it and take what we can.
“Obviously the next step now is to go one further. It’s a great foundation we’ve built over the last few years with the gaffer. We’ve just got to carry that on.”