England have been knocked out at the quarter-final stage of this winter’s World Cup in heartbreaking fashion.
France, who have recorded wins against Poland, Denmark and Australia on their way to the quarter-finals, were on top in the early stages.
After looking threatening going forward, Aurelien Tchouameni scored his first ever competitive goal for his country to give them a deserved 1-0 lead with 16 minutes played.
The likes of Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele continued to cause problems in the final third but with 24 minutes played, many thought referee Wilton Sampaio was going to point to the spot after Dayot Upamecano appeared to foul Harry Kane in the penalty area.
The incident soon went to VAR at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, but Sampaio waved away the call and play resumed. Was it a penalty? Former England defender Stuart Pearce certainly thought so. “That’s a penalty,” he told talkSPORT. “He’s dangling his leg through Kane’s and there’s enough contact there.”
At the half-time break, ITV pundits Ian Wright and Roy Keane agreed that a penalty should have been given, but Gareth Southgate’s side needed to dust themselves down ahead of the second period. They did exactly that.
Jude Bellingham would have equalised in the opening stages had it not been for a fingertip save from Hugo Lloris.
And in the 51st minute, goalscorer Aurelien Tchouameni brought the brilliant Bukayo Saka down in the area and a penalty was given.
Harry Kane, like he has done so many times on the training ground, converted past Spurs teammate Hugo Lloris to make it 1-1 at the Al-Bayt Stadium, equalling Wayne Rooney’s record of 53 England goals in the meantime.
England managed to get a real foothold of the game after Kane’s equaliser. Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden pulled the strings from attacking areas, while Harry Maguire and John Stones looked solid defensively.
But against the run of play, the inevitable Olivier Giroud put France ahead with 77-minutes played – heading past Pickford, who had pulled off a great save moments earlier.
You can see that goal below.
Gareth Southgate’s side didn’t let their heads drop, though, and after a great run from Mason Mount, Theo Hernandez barged into the Chelsea man.
Referee Wilton Sampaio eventually went to check the incident and awarded a penalty, but Harry Kane skied from 12 yards to keep the game at 2-1.
France went on to defend their slender lead against a fighting England side, who were arguably the better team on the night.
They will play Morocco in next week’s semi-final.