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France advances to the World Cup semifinals over England, despite Harry Kane’s penalty miss.

France advances to the World Cup semifinals over England, despite Harry Kane’s penalty miss.

France advances to the World Cup semifinals over England, despite Harry Kane’s penalty miss.

CNN — France is on track to defend its World Cup title after defeating England 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the Qatar 2022 tournament.

France took the lead in the first half thanks to Aurélien Tchouaméni’s powerful shot at Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday.

Morocco’s Youssef En-Nesyri celebrates after scoring the team’s first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter final match between Morocco and Portugal at Al Thumama Stadium on December 10, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
Morocco becomes the first African team to reach the World Cup semifinals with a historic victory over Portugal.
England grew into the game, and captain Harry Kane scored emphatically from the penalty spot to tie the 2018 semifinalists. The goal was his 53rd for his country, tying him with Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time leading scorer.

With just over 10 minutes remaining, Olivier Giroud’s header gave the reigning champion the lead again, and Kane converted a late penalty as France held on to victory.

France will face Morocco in the World Cup semifinals on Wednesday, after defeating Portugal earlier in the day to become the first African team to reach this stage.

The French victory made Didier Deschamps’ team the first defending champion to advance past the quarterfinals this century.

France’s performance was described as “amazing” by Giroud.

“At the end of the game, on our last chances, we knew how to be dangerous.” “I knew I was going to get another chance, and Grizi gave me a great pass,” Giroud told the French Football Federation’s website, referring to Antoine Griezmann, who set up France’s winning goal with a superb cross.

“Tonight was a great match; we know the talent of this young English generation; we played a very solid match; we tried to be powerful in our counterattacks.”

Giroud celebrates after scoring France’s second goal against England.
Giroud celebrates after scoring France’s second goal against England.
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
A clash of titans
It was a match between two of the final four teams from the 2018 World Cup, with both nations regarded as heavyweight contenders for the Qatar 2022 title.

Even in the early exchanges, the gravity of the situation was clear as the two teams tested each other.

Just after the 10-minute mark, Giroud directed a cross straight into the grateful arms of Jordan Pickford in England’s goal.

The French’s breakthrough was not without controversy.

England winger Bukayo Saka was left on the ground after a tackle from France defender Dayot Upamecano, but Brazilian referee Wilton Sampaio turned down English protests claiming a foul.

And, after a quick counterattack involving Kylian Mbappé, England was punished as a bullet of a strike from Tchouaméni – his first World Cup goal – from outside the box nestled in the bottom corner to give France the lead.

Minutes later, England players were pleading with Sampaio for a decision in their favor after Upamecano and Kane tangled legs on the edge of the French penalty box.

Those appeals were dismissed after a brief discussion with the video assistant referee (VAR), and the game continued.

Chances were few and far between for the rest of the first half, with Kane coming closest, his close-range shot saved by Tottenham Hotspur teammate Hugo Lloris in the France goal.

England came out firing immediately after the half, with Lloris tipping over Jude Bellingham’s powerful effort from the edge of the box.

The pressure eventually paid off when Saka was fouled by Tchouaméni and the referee pointed to the penalty spot, giving England the perfect opportunity to tie the game.

Kane took full advantage, powering the ball into the corner of the France goal, becoming England’s joint top scorer alongside former Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney.

Kane celebrates after scoring for England against France.
Kane celebrates after scoring for England against France.
Julian Finney/Getty Images
France nearly reclaimed the lead almost immediately after the restart, but Pickford saved Adrien Rabiot’s first-time effort from the edge of the box.

England looked the most likely to score, with a header from Harry Maguire glancing off the post as Gareth Southgate’s side increased the pressure.

Against the odds, France retook the lead through its all-time leading scorer, Giroud, who scored his fourth goal of the tournament with just over 10 minutes remaining.

After Theo Hernández was adjudged to have fouled Mason Mount, Sampaio awarded a second penalty after reviewing the incident with the help of VAR.

Kane, on the other hand, blazed his effort over the bar.

Despite consistent pressure, England was unable to find a late equalizer, with Marcus Rashford’s freekick in the game’s final moments landing on the roof of the net.

As the referee blew the final whistle, the French players gathered in a celebratory huddle, while Kane sank to his haunches in desperation.

England manager Gareth Southgate stated that his team’s performance “deserved better,” but that “in the end, goals are decisive.”

“I told the players I didn’t think they could give any more,” Southgate told ITV. “Fine margins decided the game, and the way we’ve progressed in this tournament has been excellent.”

“France understands they’ve been in a hell of a game. We win and lose together. We’ve given up a couple of goals and missed a couple of chances. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the goals (Kane) has scored for us.”

Southgate consoles Kane following England’s defeat to France.
Southgate consoles Kane following England’s defeat to France.
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
After the game, England midfielder Jordan Henderson told ITV: “Probably yeah, because we felt really good, performances were really good.”

“Every day, the focus and hunger were strong, but it wasn’t our night.” You have to give credit to France; they’re a good team, but I still felt it was possible for us to win tonight.”

Henderson added, “It’s difficult to find the right words right after the game.” I thought we gave everything in the game.