Elite level football can be cruel and it was another penalty hoodoo at the World Cup for England as they crashed out of the tournament in the quarter finals against France.
Aurelien Tchouameni’s scorcher put Les Bleus 1-0 up before Harry Kane converted a penalty won by Bukayo Saka. Olivier Giroud’s header made it 2-1, but the Three Lions could have taken the game to extra time when they were awarded another penalty for Theo Hernandez’s shove on Mason Mount.
Kane had already beaten Tottenham teammate Hugo Lloris from the spot but could not keep his cool for the second time, blazing his effort clear of the crossbar. England couldn’t force an equaliser late on and the whistle went shortly after a Marcus Rashford free kick nestled on top of Lloris’ goal.
With the stakes so high, every battle won in a ridiculously tight encounter was being cheered and there was no greater example than Kylian Mbappe’s reaction to Kane’s miss.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward jumped for joy when the ball sailed over and let out the biggest teethy grin one could muster as Kane lifted his shirt towards his face hoping the ground would swallow him up.
It’s hardly the first instance of such brutal sh**housery at this World Cup. Argentina’s penalty shootout victory over the Netherlands was littered with such incidents, with players like Nicolas Otamendi and Leandro Paredes coming in for criticism from the western media.
England continue to struggle against top class opposition at major tournaments, coming up short against Les Bleus having previously lost the Euro 2020 final to Italy last year.
France, meanwhile, continue their title defence when they face Morocco in the semi finals. If they win that encounter, they would play Argentina or Croatia in the final.