DOHA ( Associated Press) – For England, it was the same old story with a new twist.
A penalty shot by Harry Kane sealed the fate of selection at the World Cup by sending the clouds off in the last minute on Saturday night.
France held on for a 2–1 victory that deposited the reigning champions in the semi-finals and sent the English home.
The Three Lions have repeatedly been awarded penalties at major events – they have lost in this way seven times since 1990 at the World Cup or European Championship.
The quarter-final clash against France was not defined as such, but Kane went on to take the maximum penalty in the 84th minute.
The England captain had equalized before with a penalty after Aurélien Tchoumeny’s opening goal, but was unable to repeat the feat after Olivier Giroud restored France’s lead with the decisive goal.
England will have to wait for their first trophy since they won their first and only World Cup in 1966 as hosts.
Expectations VS. Result
The crossing with France has always appeared as the moment in which the English disillusionment in Qatar could be overcome. So this was the matter. But it did not reflect the course of a game in which England dominated possession and made their best chances against one of the tournament’s heavy favourites.
Had Kane converted his second penalty, the story would have been different. The performance against France exceeded expectations and served as encouragement for future battles. England were the highest scoring team in the tournament with 13 goals, which shows that they have great offensive business. But after reaching the semi-finals in 2018 and the final of Euro 2020, which they lost to Italy on penalties, going into the quarter-finals is premature.
Coach Gareth Southgate is wondering whether to continue after three major tournaments without capturing a trophy. He still has two years left on his contract. He has straightened out the national team since taking over in 2016 and his successor will have a hand in not losing the established link between the national team and the country. On the pitch, the average age of the squad plays in England’s favour. With 29 years, Kane has yet to play another World Cup. Others, such as Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden and Declan Rice, have yet to reach their peak. Kyle Walker, Jordan Henderson, Kieran Trippier, all 32, are the ones who could be different to a new generation.
what will happen next
Exuding personality and class in midfield Bellingham appeared to be Bulwark in the years to come. He is barely 19 years old and is already demonstrating leadership skills. Saka, Foden and Rice will also be important for the future of the team. Chelsea right-back Reece James is one of England’s great promises and missed the trip to Qatar through injury. Winger Jadon Sancho needs to recover the best version of himself with Manchester United. The biggest challenge for Southgate – or whoever is in charge – is to find Kane’s successor, even if the all-time scorer – on a par with Wayne Rooney – is up for more.
The next target will be Euro 2024 and the bulk of this squad will need to be replicated. Playoffs begin in March. England will face hangman Italy in last year’s final. Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta complete Group C. The appointment in Germany would once again put him among the contenders for the title.