FIFA World Cup News

Giroud guide France into 2022 world cup semifinal as England misses penalty

Olivier Giroud scored the winner while Harry Kane missed a late chance to equalise with a penalty as holders France beat England 2-1 in a tense World Cup quarter-final on Saturday.

Aurelien Tchouameni had swept France into a first-half lead only for Kane to level from the spot nine minutes into the second half.

England were the better side for long stretches of the game at Al Bayt Stadium but, almost from nowhere, France went back in front when Giroud headed home with 12 minutes left.

But Kane then blazed his second penalty of the game over the bar as England’s wait to win a first major international trophy since 1966 goes on.

France remain on course to become the first side since Brazil 60 years ago to successfully defend the World Cup.

With Brazil having been eliminated on Friday and England dealt with here in the desert north of Doha, France are now surely the favourites to retain their crown as they prepare to face Morocco in the semi-finals.

“It’s fabulous because it was a massive game against a really good England team but it is magnificent to be into the last four once more,” France coach Didier Deschamps said.

“We sort of gave them the ammunition with the two penalties, but we showed heart and guts to hold onto the result.”

This, remarkably, was the first meeting of these two great rivals in a major tournament knockout game, with Croatia’s victory in extra time preventing England from joining France in the final four years ago.

England followed that by losing the Euro 2020 final on penalties to Italy, and now they go out of another tournament because of a squandered spot-kick.

“I just said to the players I don’t think they could have given any more,” England boss Gareth Southgate said.

“They’ve played really well against a top team. It’s fine margins and things at both ends that have decided the game.”

There is no shortage of goal threats in the French side but few could have predicted that the opener would come from Tchouameni, the 22-year-old midfielder who had scored only once for his country before this game.

There was a touch of controversy to the goal, as it came from a France break which started with what looked like a foul by Dayot Upamecano on Bukayo Saka.

Brazilian referee Wilton Sampaio waved play on, and Kylian Mbappe cut inside from the left before Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann combined to set up Tchouameni to hit a superb shot from 25 metres that curled away from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and into the corner.

France had looked the more dangerous team before that, but England grew into the contest after falling behind.

Pressure tells

Kane spun away from Upamecano in the box but was denied as his Tottenham teammate Hugo Lloris came out to dive at his feet.

Another moment of controversy followed as England thought they should have had a penalty when Kane was clearly fouled in a tangle of legs with Upamecano.

However, a VAR check ruled out a spot-kick with the officials judging that any infringement took place outside the box.

Not to be discouraged, Kane forced Lloris to tip a shot behind just before the half-hour mark and the France goalkeeper –- winning a national record 143rd cap -– was called into action again just after the restart to tip over a Jude Bellingham volley.

The pressure eventually told when Saka was brought down by Tchouameni in the area seven minutes into the second half and this time a spot-kick was given.

Kane stepped up to beat Lloris and score his 53rd goal to equal Wayne Rooney’s record England tally.

The holders may not have been rattled, but England had the upper hand, and Harry Maguire headed agonisingly wide from a free-kick.

France had created nothing in the second half, but then Giroud forced an excellent save from Pickford following a Dembele knockdown, and moments later they struck.

Griezmann whipped in a tremendous cross from the left for Giroud to head in with a touch off Maguire.

That was not game over, as Theo Hernandez was penalised for a shove on substitute Mason Mount when the referee gave a spot-kick following a VAR review.

But this time Kane -– with his country’s outright goal record in sight –- blazed over, and England’s World Cup dream was over too.

Press release, source: AFP


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