Friday, February 3, 2023

England forgives and France reach semi-finals

ZOR, Qatar ( Associated Press) – Never spare the life of a champion.

With the prosperity of a monarch, France beat England 2-1 on Saturday to retain the title in Qatar.

Forward Olivier Giroud’s header tipped the balance in France’s favor in the 78th minute in a fast-paced quarter-final matchup.

After converting a penalty in the second half to provisionally equalise, England captain Harry Kane sent on another in the wind six minutes from time, which would have leveled the game at the Al Bayt Stadium.

“It’s extraordinary,” Giroud said. “I’m very proud, we played a great game. We know how to impose ourselves mentally”.

Giroud signed his fourth goal of the tournament, equal with Argentine star Lionel Messi and one less than top scorer, his teammate Kylian Mbappe.

France took the lead after 17 minutes with a right-footed shot by midfielder Aurélien Tchoumeny from outside the area, but Kane made it 1–1 with a shot from eleven steps on 54 minutes. With this goal, he reached 53 goals for his team, equaling Wayne Rooney’s record as top scorer for the Three Lions.

Les Bleus will play Wednesday in the semi-finals against surprise Morocco, who beat Portugal 1-0 earlier.

France coach Didier Deschamps said, “Morocco deserves all our respect and recognition.” “Maybe they weren’t one of the teams we were expecting to be there, but it’s no surprise when they’ve conceded only one goal in five games. We’ll take them very seriously.”

It is the first time that a defending world title holder has reached the quarter-finals in this century. Les Bleus are bidding to become the first defending champions since the Brazilian double in 1958 and 1962.

“You don’t need to get ahead of yourself. We are going to the semi-finals. We are close to the final and that is a great achievement”, said Deschamps. “In the past, world champions went wrong in the next World Cup and we have managed to get here.”

Prior to the first duel between the English Channel neighbors in a defining instance of the World Cup – the first rounds of the 1966 and 1982 fixtures had the only previous two English victories – much was said about England’s plans to include Mbappe. .

The problem is that France has far more than its ten. And for England, who came into this match unbeaten, it was the same old story: when it came down to it, it was lack of goals. After their only title in 1966, they have won only three quarter-finals out of ten in World Cup history.

England coach Gareth Southgate did not blame Kane for the mistake: “It’s very difficult when you get a second penalty and against a goalkeeper who knows you well,” Southgate said. “There are many things involved in that situation. It’s the best, but even the best has 85% (effectiveness), so even the best can fail.

The current emperor opens the chest and scatters all his treasure in the first round of the game.

Defender Dayot Upamecano stole the ball from him and looked for Mbappé to counter on the left wing. The attacker went to the other end and linked up with Ousmane Dembele, who in turn played for Antoine Griezmann. Once again playing point guard, the Atlético de Madrid forward found a wall with Choumeni.

But instead of returning it, the Real Madrid midfielder fired a right-footed shot from the area’s croissant that went between Jude Bellingham’s legs and hit the post.

But Tchoumeni went from hero to villain when he committed an avoidable foul on Bukayo Saka in the starting box at Plugin. The duel between teammates of English Tottenham was won by Kane, who parried a shot past French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

After equality, England almost brought the king to his knees.

First defender Harry Maguire had a chance to open the scoring in the 70th minute with a header that brushed the post and minutes later Saka missed in front of goal after an assist from Jordan Henderson.

Giraud, on the other hand, had no such mercy. Following a cross from Griezmann, the Milan attacker anticipated Maguire and ran the ball past the Englishman.

France incredibly brought England back to life in the 80th Mason Mount with another Theo Hernandez child foul called by Brazilian referee Wilton Pereira Sampaio after a VAR warning. But this time Kane acted like a rookie and tossed him into the stands.

Deschamps said, “We gave them a little bit of ammunition with those penalties, but we managed to get the result with heart and guts.”

Long live the king.

Nation World News Desk
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