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The defense tried to give the game away but Oliver Giroud powered France into the World Cup semifinals in a 2-1 victory over England. Two of the favorites for the World Cup title squared off in a game that was certainly fit for it. France were pushing to open the game but with England’s defense sitting back, Aurelien Tchouameni opened the scoring with a goal from outside the box in the 17th minute.
Tchouaméni with a STRIKE
FRANCE TAKES THE LEAD 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/mXfgPWifES
England weren’t able to get back into things in the first half but Bukayo Saka took over the game after the break drawing a penalty in the 54th minute. Harry Kane would fire it home to draw level with Wayne Rooney as England’s all time leading male goalscorer with his 53rd goal for the national team.
But France weren’t done as Oliver Giroud forced a great save out of Jordan Pickford before getting a second chance with a header. Giving Giroud two chances was quite a mistake as he wouldn’t miss putting France ahead in the match with his 78th minute goal. England were given another chance with Theo Hernandez decking Mason Mount in the box but the mind games got to Kane as he blasted the chance over the box and that 84th minute penalty was as close as England would come to tying it up. Next up for France is a clash with Morocco as the defending World Cup champs keep their pursuit of back to back titles going.
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Dayot Upemecano will need to thank his teammates as he had two rash challenges that on another day could’ve been given as penalties. The defense was their own worse enemy with England’s attack forcing them into bad situations. But France hasn’t had an issue winning ugly as someone has stepped up when needed. Usually, that has been Kylian Mbappe but with him being contained by England it was their captain, Lloris, who shined brightest.
Lloris had a massive save on Kane in the first half before finishing the match with six saves. France’s defense has been a weakness during this World Cup but knowing that they can rely on Lloris will give Les Blues confidence in facing Morocco. It’s an unfortunate loss for England as with the chips down, there are few players who you want on the spot more than Kane but sometimes it’s just not your night and that was the case for England Saturday.
Morocco’s defense will be ready, having only allowed one goal during the World Cup so far — and even that was an own goal by Nayef Aguerd. If France isn’t on all cylinders for the match, Africa will move from having the first African nation in the World cup semifinals to having a place in the World Cup final but Didier Deschamps has had game plans for every situation.
IN THE 𝙎𝙀𝙈𝙄-𝙁𝙄𝙉𝘼𝙇 OF THE WORLD CUP! 🔥
WHAT A MATCH, WHAT A TEAM 😍😍😍#ENGFRA #FiersdetreBleus pic.twitter.com/9S9OM4c5PQ
The French meet Morocco in the semifinals! Tchouameni and Giroud’s goals send England home. Kane scored one penalty and missed another, but it was not enough for the Three Lions. The defending champions reach the final four and are the first titleholders to do so since Brazil in 1998!
Great position for England this. Effectively a penalty given that time is pretty much up! We saw the Netherlands score from here yesterday… Rashford fires over!
Things are getting tense late on with Maguire getting booked in the moments after the missed Kane penalty.
The mind games got to him and Kane’s take doesn’t come close. Marcus Rashford is coming on but that could be it for England.
HARRY KANE MISSES THE PENALTY 😱 pic.twitter.com/UwDpI8qXpQ
Unnecessary from the AC Milan man who immediately hands England a way back into this one from the spot.
The Three Lions were pushing and playing like the better team but it’s France that came up with the save. Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling have entered for Jordan Henderson and Bukayo Saka to push the game forward. Somehow, England don’t have a second penalty as Hernandez decks Mount in the box.
GIROUD PUTS FRANCE BACK ON TOP 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/KRBFrFkgPS
Giroud strikes! Great header by Les Bleus’ target man. Pickford denied him moments before, but this time he makes no mistake from Griezmann’s ball in.
It’s not given but time and time again Dayot Upamecano is putting himself into bad situations. France are walking a tightrope but England haven’t made them pay yet.
Henderson’s delivery is great but Maguire can’t put the shot on frame. France have given England a number of set plays and it’s only a matter of time until they pay for one of them. It certainly feels like England are more likely to score the next goal not France but there are plenty of changes left to be made in the final 20 mintues.
Kane’s equalizer was perhaps the best thing for the game. The French have woken up and the Three Lions’ belief has been boosted. Next goal could be the clincher. Will we get it before the 90 are out? Deschamps should be looking at his bench and potentially considering sending Coman on for Dembele.
England and France are trading blows, Mbappe finally beats Kyle Walker, and we’re level. Epic finish coming ot this match as we’re level about 60 minutes in. All Englend needed to do was go full speed at France and they’re doing that now.
France immediately down the other end and Rabiot’s effort is too central, but still requires Pickford to get down to keep it out. End-to-end these past few minutes.
France were walking a tightrope and finally paid for it as an England goal was coming. Kane drives the ball past his Tottenham teammate Lloris.
HARRY KANE TIES IT FOR ENGLAND 🏴 pic.twitter.com/db775dnklP
Another huge save from the French goalkeeper to keep it at 1-0. However, Saka is brought down in the box by scorer Tchouameni and England have a penalty! Mbappe plays pantomime villain by running to have a word with Lloris before the kick.
But Bellingham was much more direct carrying the ball drawing a foul and yellow card on Dembele. Bellingham then tries a strike from outside the box winning England another corner as Hugo Lloris has been immense in this match so far. So so close to an English opener as Maguire’s shot falls into Lloris’ hands.
While they’re doing well on containing Kylian Mbappe, too much of the English gameplan revolves around stopping one player. The French defense has conceded chances but England isn’t pushing forward enough. Some of this is due to Phil Foden not doing enough so if he’s fit after returning to camp, Raheem Sterling could be entering soon. After that, look out for Marcus Rashford to be a difference maker off the bench as Gareth Southgate now has halftime to make adjustments.
This angle of Tchouaméni’s goal 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/7G99wZnoc4
Tchouameni’s superb goal is the difference so far. France have been riding their luck at times, but took their chance when it came and created another which Mbappe was unable to get on target. It has been tight so far with a few contentious calls, but Les Bleus arguably just shading it and have the lead.
England has been pushing since Tchouameni’s opener, but the French have been weathering the waves of pressure so far. Mbappe still quiet, so at least that aspect of the Three Lions’ game strategy is working. Part of Les Bleus’ approach certainly involves sticking tight to Saka as he tries to play. Mbappe fires over when found inside the box as the danger passes. Griezmann also impressing with his more combative approach.
Upemecano’s foul on Harry Kane carried into the box but as it began outside the box it wasn’t ruled a penalty after the VAR review. Nervy moments for France as the defense is leaving much to be desired despite not allowing a goal. Harry Kane has had a slow start to the match but now that he’s warmed up, the England attack is looking quite good. Kane sting’s Lloris’ palms from distance as no one can contain him.
He forces a save out of his Tottenham teammate Hugo Lloris as France lost Kane in the box. England couldn’t turn the attack into a goal but that was their best chance so far in the match. If Kane can find freedom, there is certainly room to win this match.
Luke Shaw’s take was a tame one that Hugo Lloris catches easily. England will want to create something soon to settle the match as when France goes ahead, they don’t usually concede the lead.
27 – Antoine Griezmann now has 27 assists for France, the most for any player for the national team over the last 50 years (Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane 26). Gifts. pic.twitter.com/dZuyAAt1Cb
Tchouameni with a stunner! What a hit. Griezmann tees it up and the Real Madrid man takes one touch before thumping finish. Questions over a potential foul on Saka in the build-up. Mbappe brought the ball infield before it found its way to Tchouameni for the hit. Far too much space allowed from an established long-range threat.
Tchouaméni with a STRIKE
FRANCE TAKES THE LEAD 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/mXfgPWifES
So far neither team has been too dangerous in attack but France allowed Harry Kane to carry the ball almost 60 meters setting up an attack. The game has been back and forth as each defense are making last ditch tackles but one mistake and we’ll have a goal sooner than later. England are very vulnerable on the counter with how much they’re pushing the ball up the pitch.
Les Bleus are having a bit of the ball in and around the English box. The French just won a corner and were looking for Giroud before that. The AC Milan man then heads straight at Pickford. Decent opening exchanges!
The Three Lions aren’t giving France space high up the pitch but so far when they’ve won the ball they haven’t done much with it. It feels like France are walking a tight rope but that’s how they like to play as one attack and they can cut England to pieces.
The ball is flat and Harry Maguire has kicked it out for a new one. As you were as we restart 45 seconds into the match.
While this is a highly anticipated match, it will take a lot for it to live up to the other semi-final matches so far.
Jude Bellingham’s link up play has been so important to England during this World Cup but Antonee Griezmann’s defensive chops have stopped creative midfielders from cutting through France. Can France’s unlikely number 10 shine again or will Bellingham dictate play from deep for England?
James Benge and Jonathan Johnson took a look at the burning questions behind today’s match.
JJ: Rabiot and Tchouameni have paired very well so far and Griezmann is contributing much more in a central midfield role than expected. Expect the two to compete, but Rabiot might have to put in more of a defensive shift than he has been used to so far this tournament. Also, the more often Griezmann chips in, the less influential he is going forward which will impact Mbappe, Dembele, and Giroud. Deschamps could add an extra body in the middle, but that would be a risky move given that it would be experimental — not exactly the French tactician’s strong suit. Tchouameni vs. Bellingham has the potential to be one of the duels of this World Cup between two of the world’s leading positional talents.
6 – Didier Deschamps will use the same starting XI in consecutive matches for the 6th time with the French team and the 1st since March 2019 against Iceland (4-0). BisRepetita? #ENGFRA https://t.co/TN6lQmt8Ty
JB: As CBS’ leading Adrien Rabiot skeptic this tournament has been one almighty eye-opener for me. It turns out that in the right system he is actually an extremely effective ball progressor who can win the ball back with welcome frequency. Antoine Griezmann has also been a welcome surprise as a number 10 who does plenty of work without the ball. Aurelien Tchouameni has been as excellent as advertised. My suspicion, however, is that if there is a player to take the game by the scruff of its neck it might be Bellingham, who can bend his performance to the needs of his team more than almost anyone at this tournament.
James Benge writes that Walker certainly has the pace to do it but there’s much more behind England’s right back as well.
Walker is not going to get blown by in a foot race. FIFA statistics for the tournament so far show that Mbappe reached a peak speed of 35.3 km/h against Poland in the round of 16. Walker maxed out at 34.4 km/h against Senegal. The Frenchman might edge a 100m race between these two but with the ball at his feet and in tight spaces, he will find it hard to simply blow by his man.
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