AL KHOR, Qatar, Dec 10 – Goals by Oliver Giroud and Aurelien Tchouameni gave France a 2-1 win over England that took the holders into a World Cup semi-final with Morocco after Harry Kane equalized from the spot but then blazed a second late penalty over the bar on Saturday.
France are now one win away from becoming the first back-to-back finalists since Brazil in 2002 and two from becoming the third team to retain the trophy after Brazil in 1962 and Italy in 1938.
They had to work hard for their win though as the first tournament knockout match between the two old sporting rivals maintained the excitement of this extraordinary quarter-final weekend.
Antoine Griezmann rolled the ball invitingly into the path of Tchouameni, whose 25-yard low shot flew just inside the post and beyond goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
England eventually got going, pushing and probing, though without too much precision, though France keeper Hugo Lloris was quick off his line to save at the feet of Kane, then parried another drive from England’s captain.
Lloris was in action again at the start of the second half, tipping a fierce Jude Bellingham shot over the bar as England came out full of purpose.
Saka, who had looked their most threatening player in the first half, was then tripped by Tchouameni and Kane smashed the penalty high beyond his Tottenham Hotspur teammate Lloris to draw level with Wayne Rooney as England’s record scorer on 53.
England were buoyed by the goal and were playing with huge confidence but though center-back Harry Maguire brushed a post with a header they could not make their dominance count.
Instead, France hit back as Griezmann swung in a cross that Giroud did brilliantly to reach in front of Maguire and plant his header into the net for his fourth goal of the tournament.
England were given another lifeline via VAR when Theo Hernandez flattened Mason Mount but Kane sent his spot kick wildly over the bar six minutes from time.
England pushed for an equalizer but when Marcus Rashford’s added-time free kick fizzed just over the bar they fell to a seventh defeat in 10 World Cup quarter-finals.
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