England 1-2 France: Les Bleus edge through after Kane penalty woe

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Harry Kane missed a late penalty as France squeezed through to the World Cup semi-finals with a 2-1 win over England.

Kane cancelled out Aurelien Tchouameni’s opener with a 54th-minute penalty but could not repeat the feat with seven minutes to go, blazing high over the bar.

In between the spot-kicks, Oliver Giroud’s header had given France an advantage that proved decisive as they advanced to a last-four clash with Morocco on Wednesday.

The defending champions started the brighter and Giroud ought to have done better after 11 minutes than head Ousmane Dembele’s cross straight at Jordan Pickford.

England didn’t heed the warning and Les Bleus took the lead from their next serious attack – Kylian Mbappe starting the move down the left before drifting inside to feed Griezmann and his lay-off was swept home by Tchouameni from 20 yards.

England responded well with Kane foiled by Tottenham team-mate Hugo Lloris, making a record 143rd appearance for his country, before VAR came to France’s rescue by adjudging Dayot Upamecano’s trip on Kane took place outside the box.

Gareth Southgate’s men remained on the front foot after the break, Lloris tipping over Jude Bellingham’s 20-yard drive. 

A deserved equaliser finally arrived after 54 minutes with referee Wilton Sampaio pointing to the spot after Bellingham and Bukayo Saka combined and the latter was tripped clumsily by Tchouameni. Kane won the battle of nerves with Lloris by firing high into the top left-hand corner.

Pickford saved well from Adrien Rabiot but England countered with a Saka shot and a Harry Maguire header that clipped the outside of the post.

Having come close seconds before with a volley that brought a smart save out of Pickford, Giroud restored France’s advantage with 12 minutes to go. Griezmann moved to the left flank and whipped in a delicious cross for the Milan striker to head in via Maguire’s shoulder.

England squandered the opportunity to equalise for a second time five minutes later when Sampaio, after consulting the VAR monitor, awarded a penalty for Theo Hernandez’s senseless barge into substitute Mason Mount.

Kane, who would have broken Wayne Rooney’s England record with his 54th international goal had he scored, blasted well over the top.

Substitute Marcus Rashford almost levelled with the last kick of the game, a free-kick that flashed narrowly over the bar.

What does it mean? Not to be for unfortunate England

England had more shots (16-8), more shots on target (8-5) and a higher xG (2.32 to 1.19) but France’s tournament nous saw them through.

With the draw opening up, they will fancy their chances of retaining their title next Sunday.

Glorious Griezmann inspires France

The Atletico Madrid man was the best midfielder on show. He assisted both goals, the second with a wonderful cross for Giroud and generally bossed the game from the centre of the field.

He made 43 passes and a team high 38 accurate passes. A master at work.

Walker does his job

So much of the build-up had centred on the battle between Kyle Walker and France dangerman Mbappe.

For the most part it was a battle won by the Manchester City full-back with Mbappe fading as the game went on.

What’s next?

It’s the end of the road for England while Morocco lie in wait for Didier Deschamps’ France side.

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