England’s World Cup campaign ended in disappointment as they went out despite a fine performance in the quarter-finals against France at Al Bayt Stadium.
Harry Kane’s late penalty miss proved decisive after he had earlier equaled Wayne Rooney’s England record of 53 goals from the spot.
France took a 17th-minute lead when Aurelien Tchouameni’s 25-yard drive beat Jordan Pickford low to his right.
England were the better team for long spells and created chances, deservedly pulling level nine minutes after the break when Kane beat Tottenham team-mate Hugo Lloris in convincing fashion with his penalty after Tchouameni fouled Bukayo Saka.
France regained the lead 12 minutes from time when Olivier Giroud headed in Antoine Griezmann’s perfect cross but England had a swift chance to draw level when Theo Hernandez fouled substitute Mason Mount in the box.
Kane had the opportunity to make history but uncharacteristically blazed his penalty over the top and England’s World Cup dream was over as France look forward to a semi-final against Morocco.
England have been accused of making timid exits at major tournaments in the past but this charge cannot be levelled at Gareth Southgate and his players here.
They matched France and were superior for long spells, with Saka and Declan Rice outstanding, so this will be a painful loss as a route to their first World Cup final since 1966 appeared to be opening up.
Sadly for England and Southgate, they were unable to take the chances that came their way, and they ran into France keeper Lloris at his best.
And it will be captain Kane who feels the disappointment most acutely after missing that second England penalty six minutes from time with the all-time England goalscoring record at his feet.
There was a palpable sense of disbelief around the stadium as this most reliable of penalty takers fired his spot-kick horribly high into England’s fans behind the goal. —BBC