France picked up their maiden FIFA World Cup victory against England and advanced to the semi-finals of the tournament. Aurélien Tchouameni broke the deadlock in the 17th minute. Parity was restored via a penalty from Harry Kane in the 54th minute, before Olivier Giroud put the Blues back in front after 78 minutes. Moments later, another penalty was awarded to England, but this time Kane failed to keep his composure and skied off. France maintained their narrow lead and staged a semi-final clash with Morocco.
France became the first defending champions to reach the semi-finals since Brazil in 1998 after Les Bleus claimed their first-ever World Cup victory over England in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar. A howl from Aurélien Tchouameni and a close-range header from Olivier Giroud, coupled with a dismal miss from Harry Kane, handed the Blues a ticket to the semi-finals of the tournament, where they will see the horns with the Giant Slayers from Morocco.
As expected, both teams fielded an unchanged starting XI for this game. Strong centre-back partnerships of Dayot Upamecano and Raphael Varane, and John Stones and Harry Maguire were on display, while up front Olivier Giroud and Harry Kane were eager to score for their respective sides. Tchouameni and Jude Bellingham had prepared for a fierce battle in midfield.
The spectators only had to wait seventeen minutes to see the first goal of the match. Against the run of play, Kylian Mbappe took up the challenge from Declan Rice before switching it to Antoine Griezzmann. The Atletico Madrid striker collected the ball and found Tchouameni hovering near the edge of the box. The Real Madrid midfielder took a touch before unleashing a low, venomous strike that went through Bellingham’s legs, past Jordan Pickford and into the back of the net.
Seven minutes into the second half, Tchouameni was involved again, but this time it was beneficial for England as the 22-year-old knocked Bukayo Saka down in the box, and the referee immediately indicated the place. Kane stepped up, calmed his nerves, sent Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Hugo Lloris the wrong way and smashed the ball into the back of the net to restore parity in the 54th minute and became the Three Lions’ top scorer with Wayne Rooney.
The decisive goal came in the 78th minute thanks to France’s all-time top scorer, Giroud. Moments after being denied by a brilliant save, the 36-year-old striker quickly pounced on a Griezmann cross from the left flank. The AC Milan striker edged past Maguire and nodded past Pickford to put the defending champions back in front.
Four minutes after that goal, substitute Mason Mount was pushed from behind into the French penalty area by full-back Theo Hernandez. VAR took a look at it and eventually, a penalty was awarded to the Three Lions. Kane moved forward to take it back, and with the goal at his mercy, the Spurs striker went under the ball as his shot went over the crossbar as Lloris and his teammates rejoiced in the moment.
In the last minute of added time in the second half, substitute Marcus Rashford tried his luck with a free kick awarded to England at the edge of the box. The Manchester United striker put his boot through and saw him graze the top of the crossbar as Lloris was rooted in his place, hoping the effort went off target. It was the last kick of the game.
France are now one win away from becoming the first consecutive finalists since Brazil in 2002 and two away from becoming the third team to retain the trophy after Brazil in 1962 and Italy in 1938.