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France edge out England to reach World Cup semis

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France’s Olivier Giroud celebrates with his teammates after scoring his  side’s second goal
France’s Olivier Giroud celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side’s second goal

France edged past England to secure a spot in the semi-final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a 2-1 victory at the AL Bayt Stadium in Doha, Qatar yesterday.

Harry Kane, who had earlier scored from the spot, blazed a penalty wide minute away from full-time, to miss a chance to level the score at 2-2. France opened the scoring in the first half, through a stunning long-distance strike from Aurelien Tchouameni.

England then levelled things up after Bukayo Saka was fouled by Tchouaméni in the box and Kane smashed it in from the spot. The Les Bleus clinched the deciding goal from an Antoine Griezmann cross from the left flank and was nudged in, via a deflection from Harry Maguire, by Olivier Giroud.

Jude Bellingham, at 19-years-old and England’s youngest player to start a quarter-final, Saka, 21, and Phil Foden, 22, were all exceptional as Gareth Southgate’s side duelled with France.

Harry Maguire clipped a post with a header at 1-1 and Marcus Rashford lifted a last-gasp free-kick onto the roof of the net. But ultimately it was a penalty that caused England World Cup heartbreak again.

It was a dramatic ending to this epic first-ever knockout clash between these sides. It had begun with England looking nervous after the big build-up and the fear of France star Kylian Mbappe was plain to see when he was able to stretch his legs in the lead-up to the opener.

After a desperate challenge from Declan Rice, England retreated rapidly to their own area and there was then space for Antoine Griezmann to roll across for Tchouameni to crash an excellent strike into the bottom corner.

England complained there should have been a foul given for a challenge from Dayot Upamecano on Saka at the start of the move and there was more frustration with the officials and VAR when no penalty was awarded when

Kane rolled the defender for a second time in the space of five minutes and tumbled on the edge of the area.

Kane tested Tottenham teammate Lloris from close range and from distance as he led England’s response, but the threat of France was always there, with Mbappe firing over after a free kick was worked into the box. (C.D) 

Monday, December 12, 2022 – 01:00

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