England’s hopes of winning their first World Cup since 1966 were ended on Saturday night as the Three Lions were defeated 2-1 by France at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar. Gareth Southgate’s team exited the tournament in heartbreaking fashion after Harry Kane blasted a late penalty over the crossbar when presented with the opportunity to draw his side level for the second time in the game.
Kane had already dispatched a spot kick in the early stages of the second half after Bukayo Saka had been brought down. But goals from Aurelien Tchouameni and Olivier Giroud proved to be the difference as Les Bleus took one step closer to retaining the trophy they won in Russia four years ago.
The World Cup is entering its latter stages and France will now face a showdown with Morocco in the semi-finals after the African team stunned Portugal in their quarter-finals earlier on Saturday. And the winner of that tie will face the victors of the last four clash between Croatia and Argentina.
Argentina saw off the Netherlands on Friday night after a penalty shootout, while Croatia’s quarter-final against Brazil was also decided on spot kicks. And we could even now see a repeat of the 2018 final where France beat Croatia 4-2.
The World Cup has proved to be a scintillating affair, with some giants of world football suffering heartbreaking exits and smaller footballing nations enjoying fairytale journeys into the knockout stages. And Morocco’s progression in the tournament means they are the first African nation in history to reach the semi-finals.
The agony of England’s Qatar departure will be felt for weeks as the reality of another trophyless tournament sets in. But for the four countries remaining, there is still hope of glory. And we’ll be on hand to bring you all the latest news from Qatar.
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