France are headed to the World Cup semifinal. The tournament’s reigning champions battled England on Saturday, and thanks to a penalty skied by Harry Kane in the 84th minute, France was able to pick up a thrilling 2-1 win.
France started the scoring thanks to a wonder strike by Aurélien Tchouaméni. The 22-year-old Real Madrid standout found the ball at his feet in the 17th minute after a lovely passage of play by the French and ripped a shot from 30 yards out that snuck past Jordan Pickford.
England kept trying to pick the lock but was unable to find the breakthrough in the first half. And then, less than 10 minutes into the second half, the breakthrough came. Bukayo Saka made his way through the French box, with Tchouaméni’s attempt to challenge him wiping him off his feet for a penalty.
Kane stepped up to the spot and stared down Hugo Lloris, his teammate at Tottenham. Even if Lloris guessed correctly, he had no chance of stopping this effort from hitting the back of the net.
England seemed the more likely of the two sides to break the deadlock until Olivier Giroud, in the 78th minute, got his head to a ball whipped into the box by Antoine Griezmann. It was a picture-perfect cross, while Giroud got inside of Harry Maguire and rifled the ball past the outstretched arms of Pickford.
England was thrown a lifeline less than 10 minutes later. A rash and unnecessary foul by Theo Hernández on Mason Mount in the box originally went uncalled, but after a VAR review, it was determined that England would be awarded its second penalty of the game.
Unfortunately for the Three Lions, the usually-reliable Kane put the ball over the crossbar. England hardly threatened again until essentially the final kick of the game, when Marcus Rashford got a free kick just outside of the box. Lloris was dead to rights, but the ball simply did not find the back of the net.
The win sets up a semifinal matchup between France and Morocco on Wednesday.