Match report as goals from Aurelien Tchouameni and Olivier Giroud send world champions into the semi-finals to face Morocco; Harry Kane had equalised from the spot but fired over the bar from 12 yards with late penalty to miss chance to make it 2-2; England knocked out of World Cup
Sunday 11 December 2022 08:29, UK
Harry Kane blazed a late penalty over the bar as England's World Cup dreams ended with a 2-1 defeat in the quarter-finals to defending champions France.
The England captain had already converted from 12 yards earlier in the game to level after Aurelien Tchouameni's thunderbolt had put France ahead and he was given a golden opportunity to equalise for a second time after Olivier Giroud's header when Theo Hernandez recklessly barged into Mason Mount.
His first penalty had taken Kane level with Wayne Rooney's England scoring record of 53 goals and meant he'd scored more penalties in normal time at World Cups than any player ever.
But with six minutes to play, and the pressure huge, he smashed his second spot kick high over the bar. Kane looked devastated. There was no way back and at the final whistle, he was inconsolable.
Referee Wilton Sampaio had initially overlooked the foul on Mount before VAR advised him to check the pitchside monitor and England were frustrated throughout this enthralling contest by decisions from the officials, with a challenge on Bukayo Saka not given as a foul in the build-up to the opener and a penalty shout from Kane overlooked in the first half.
Jude Bellingham, at 19-years-old and England's youngest player to start a quarter-final, Saka, 21, and Phil Foden, 22, were all exceptional as Gareth Southgate's side duelled with France. Harry Maguire clipped a post with a header at 1-1 and Marcus Rashford lifted a last-gasp free-kick onto the roof of the net.
But ultimately it was a penalty that caused England World Cup heartbreak again.
Harry Kane has scored 17/21 penalties for England. He has scored 30/34 in the Premier League.
What next for Gareth Southgate? Will he continue with his contract running through to the next European Championships for one more shot at glory with this group? That is the debate for the days to come.
As for France, they go on to play Morocco in the World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday at 7pm, again at the Al Bayt stadium after Morocco became the first African nation to reach the final four with a 1-0 win over Portugal earlier on Saturday, which left Cristiano Ronaldo in tears.
England: Pickford (6), Walker (6), Stones (7), Maguire (5), Shaw (4), Rice (7), Henderson (6), Bellingham (6), Saka (8), Kane (6), Foden (6).
Subs: Mount (5), Sterling (5), Rashford (5), Grealish (n/a)
France: Lloris (7), Kounde (6), Varane (6), Upamecano (6), Hernandez (4), Griezmann (8), Tchouameni (7), Rabiot (6), Dembele (6), Giroud (7), Mbappe (6).
Subs: Coman (6)
Man of the match: Antoine Griezmann.
It was a dramatic ending to this epic first-ever knockout clash between these sides. It had begun with England looking nervy after the big build-up and the fear of France star Kylian Mbappe was plain to see when he was able to stretch his legs in the lead-up to the opener.
After a desperate challenge from Declan Rice, England retreated rapidly to their own area and there was then space for Antoine Griezmann to roll across for Tchouameni to crash an excellent strike into the bottom corner.
England complained there should have been a foul given for a challenge from Dayot Upamecano on Saka at the start of the move and there was more frustration with the officials and VAR when no penalty was awarded when Kane rolled the defender for a second time in the space of five minutes and tumbled on the edge of the area.
Kane tested Tottenham team-mate Lloris from close range and from distance as he led England's response but the threat of France was always there, with Mbappe firing over after a free-kick was worked into the box.
England had never won a World Cup match they were losing at half-time, while France had won 24 of the 25 they'd led after 45 minutes - but Bellingham showed no respect for such records, driving England forward early in the second period before providing the wall pass for Saka when the Arsenal man was floored in the box by Tchouameni.
Kane, after being made to wait, eventually slammed home the penalty to match Rooney's milestone. It was a huge moment in his career and his fourth goal from the spot in World Cups - but one which would be overshadowed by another penalty to come.
The equaliser sparked a frantic few minutes, with Adrien Rabiot almost catching England asleep seconds after the restart when he forced a stop from Jordan Pickford and Mbappe turned on the afterburners to charge away from Walker, but the Three Lions refocused and were inches away when Maguire grazed a post with a header from Jordan Henderson's free-kick.
Giroud had become France's record goalscorer himself earlier in this tournament and after heading wide and seeing Pickford push away a volley, he beat Maguire to Griezmann's cross to head his country back in front.
There were emphatic celebrations from the French and it was a hammer blow to England - but incredibly they were given a chance to save their World Cup just a couple of minutes later thanks to Hernandez's thoughtless foul. This time, though, Kane got it all wrong. Uncharacteristically so.
The miss knocked the stuffing out of England and the prospect of mounting a grandstand finish. They were able to muster one more chance - but Rashford was just off target as he looked to fire in a second free-kick of this World Cup. There was to be no late twist. England's big chance had come and gone. And so had their hopes of glory in Qatar.
England captain Harry Kane speaking on ITV: "I'm always someone who prepares for getting one or two penalties in a 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. I have to take it on the chin, it will hurt for sure, the whole game will hurt. As the captain, I'll take that, but I couldn't be prouder of the boys.
"It comes down to a small detail I'll take responsibility for. I'm not worried about the team and how it will impact them. We have some great talent."
England manager Gareth Southgate speaking on ITV: "The performance did [live up to expectation]. In the end, goals are decisive. I've just said to the players, they couldn't give any more. Fine margins. Things at both ends that have decided the game. I'm proud of the way they've been through the tournament."
On the referee: "Pointless me going into that. I'd rather talk about our players. Congratulations to France. They know they've been in a hell of a game. I don't think we could have done any more.
"For me, we win and lose as a team. We let two [goals] in and missed chances. Harry [Kane] has been incredible for us. So reliable. We wouldn't be here if not for the goals he's scored for us.
"It's key moments. In most of the big moments we were in the right place. It's a game of fine margins. We were here to try to win the tournament - we had belief we could. We've got a team that could have done that."
On his England future, Southgate said: "After every tournament we've sat down and reviewed and reflected. So we need a bit of time to make sure everyone makes the right decisions."
SSN senior reporter Rob Dorsett at the Al Thumama Stadium:
"England's players dropped to the turf, many in tears, as France celebrate. The English fans were silent. Stunned. Heartbreak for England, who crashed out in Qatar.
"For much of this quarter-final, they were the better side. They had more possession, created more chances than the world champions. But the England captain will need some time to process the unthinkable - that he missed, at a crucial time, from 12 yards.
"That's so bittersweet for Kane, who equalled Wayne Rooney's goalscoring record earlier, with nerves of steel.
"England will bemoan the referee, who did them no favours and missed some key decisions but ultimately, as we feared from the very start of the tournament, it was England's defence that cost them. Two key lapses, that were ruthlessly punished by France.
"England will head home tomorrow. Christmas is cancelled."