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Harry Kane: Penalty curse strikes again for England as Three Lions exit World Cup to France

Harry Kane's missed penalty saw England eliminated from World Cup to France; Three Lions captain blazed over with six minutes to go as Les Bleus ran out 2-1 winners; Kane has an 84 per cent record from penalties in his career but joins list of players to have suffered penalty heartache

Harry Kane and Gareth Southgate react after losing 1-2 against France
Image: Harry Kane and Gareth Southgate both know the pain of penalty shootout exits

The same feeling of hurt - but in a different manner.

Normally, it's the shootout agony for England. The collective failure from 12 yards is how the Three Lions exited seven out of the last 12 major tournaments before their trip to Qatar.

This time, it is one solitary moment.

Harry Kane sends his penalty over the bar
Image: Harry Kane sends his penalty over the bar

An almighty weight of history weighed on the shoulders of Harry Kane, as he stepped up with the task of bringing England level again at 2-2 with France. Not just England's penalty history, but the milestone of becoming the Three Lions' all-time record goalscorer was one successful kick away.

There was also the added weight of immediate history - exactly 30 minutes before that penalty miss.

Kane had already put one spot kick past his Tottenham team-mate Hugo Lloris in this World Cup quarter-final - therefore giving the France goalkeeper a hint as to where the penalty could go.

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Jamie Redknapp thinks Hugo Lloris 'spooked' Tottenham team-mate Harry Kane, which caused the striker to miss his second penalty of the game as England crashed out of the World Cup at the hands of France.

The psychology of having to make this second kick even greater than the first got the better of Kane. Scoring one high-pressure penalty is a successful part of Kane's weaponry, but two? He knows full well how difficult that is.

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Back in October, Kane scored one penalty then missed another against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League. He missed one then scored another against Liverpool at Anfield in February 2018.

Harry Kane scores his penalty to make it 1-1
Image: Kane has an 84 per cent record from penalties for club and country - he netted one earlier in the France defeat

Kane has scored two penalties in one game on three separate occasions for England, but they came in matches against San Marino, Bulgaria and Panama. Hardly the high-pressure scenario of Saturday night.

Kane's tally of 53 goals in 80 England matches made him the perfect man for this moment. He has an 84 percentage career success rate from the spot for club and country. As Gareth Southgate said after the game: "He's been incredible, so reliable in those situations."

England had also been preparing penalties for three weeks. Players focused on technique, breathing, calmness, game-plan and consistency of strike. Kane lacked all of those things second time around.

"I'm always someone who prepares for getting one or two penalties in a game," said Kane after the game. "I always have an idea for what I want to do.

"I can't fault my preparation or anything like that, it was just the execution on the night. The first pen was great, the second one I didn't quite hit it how I wanted to."

The one thing that was missing from Kane's collection was his 'England moment'. Now he joins a list of players with gut-wrenching sucker-punch incidents resulting in tournament eviction.

Paying the penalty: England's misery from the spot

Former England captain David Beckham blazed over as England went out at Euro 2004
Image: Former England captain David Beckham blazed over as England went out at Euro 2004

Former captain Wayne Rooney - the England legend Kane was on the verge of overtaking as he ran up to take the second penalty - experienced it in Germany 2006 when he was sent off against Portugal. A flailing David Seaman watched on as Ronaldinho's free-kick flew over his head in 2002, then there are the penalty heartaches from Chris Waddle's skied kick at Italia 90, while David Batty and Paul Ince also missed from 12 yards against Argentina in 1998.

There were those inside the Al Bayt Stadium, watching on, who resonated with the England captain as he sunk to his knees at full-time, knowing the full extent of the responsibility he has to accept.

Former captain David Beckham, high up in the executive seats, an exclusive part of the stadium, saw a similar type of penalty fly over at the Euro 2004 quarter-final, to add to his collection following a red card in France 1998.

Down at pitch level, Bukayo Saka watched on from the substitutes' bench, with the memories of the last major tournament - his penalty edging Italy's hands onto the European Championships trophy ahead of England's - running through his mind.

And then there's Southgate's penalty shootout nightmare against Germany at Euro 96. Kane has no better figure than the current England manager to get him through this ordeal.

Kane thought he had avoided that moment when his Euro 2020 semi-final penalty was saved by Denmark's Kasper Schmeichel. The ball kindly fell back to the England captain who tapped home to send England to the final.

He would not be spared 18 months later - and gone was one of his and England's best chances of a World Cup victory.

There is a light at the end of this tunnel for Kane, history has shown exactly that. Beckham got his revenge against Argentina four years later. Rooney ended on top of the England goalscoring pile after his 2006 agony. Saka showed in the France victory that he has put that Italy miss behind him. Southgate became the darling of the nation as Three Lions manager.

England's head coach Gareth Southgate embraces Harry Kane
Image: Southgate and Kane pick each other up at full-time

But the one thing that those players share is that they were young players at the time of their horror moments and had time to change it around. At 29-years-old you imagine Kane only has one World Cup left and maybe two other shots of major tournament triumph.

"I have to take it on the chin," adds Kane. "It will hurt for sure, the whole game will hurt."

Football is indeed a cruel game, especially if you're England at a major tournament. Eight major tournament exits in 13 have come via the 'p' word. It's the main reason why football is far from home.

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