FIFA World Cup 2022: France 2, England 1

Al Khor, Qatar; France forward Olivier Giroud (9) celebrates after scoring during the second half of a quarterfinal game against England in the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Al-Bayt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not coming home.

England’s World Cup journey in Qatar ended on Saturday after suffering a 2-1 defeat to reigning holders France. Les Bleus will face Morocco on Wednesday in the semifinals as they continue their quest to become the first country to retain the World Cup since Brazil in 1962.

France's Aurélien Tchouaméni opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a powerful long-range effort that beat Jordan Pickford and nestled into the bottom corner of the net. Harry Kane equalized from the penalty spot in the 54th minute, but Olivier Giroud put France back ahead 24 minutes later with a powerful header from six yards out.

In the waning minutes, England and Harry Kane were given a golden opportunity to level the score from the penalty spot once again, thanks to an unfathomable challenge from Theo Hernández in the box. However, the England skipper blazed his penalty over the bar, ending England’s World Cup hopes.

John Stones and Harry Maguire were highlighted as England’s biggest weakness ahead of this match, which proved to be the case. With the score at 1-1, England managed to survive after Stones gave Giroud a few acres of space in the box. Minutes later, it was Maguire who let Giroud break free, and it led to the game-winning header.

Expected goals (xG): England 2.4, France 0.73

When accounting for England’s two penalties, the expected goals (xG) battle was relatively even. However, Tchouaméni converting a low xG chance early on meant the onus was on England to create opportunities, which they struggled to do. France converted their opportunities when they needed to, and that was enough for them to advance.

Man of the Match: Olivier Giroud, France

France’s leading International goal scorer scored his fourth goal of the tournament, proving why he deserves to be the man to lead the line.

Giroud won 10 of his 18 aerial duels, including the crucial one against Harry Maguire that led to his goal. His four shots tied with Kane for the most in the match, with his powerful header sending France through to the next round.

Giroud tallied 0.56 xG, the second-highest mark of the quarter-finals behind Neymar (penalties excluded).

Best Passer: John Stones, England

Stones is better on the ball than he is at defending, and he was excellent with the ball at his feet against France. The Manchester City center-back completed 70 of his 71 attempted passes, a 98.59% completion rate. He also completed all 15 of his attempted line-breaking passes, and nobody else in the game completed more than five.

Best Challenger: Adrien Rabiot, France

For a team that conceded two penalties from poor challenges, Rabiot was reliable in the middle for France. The Juventus midfielder won nine of his 14 challenges, including four of his six aerial duels and three of his four 50-50s. Rabiot’s combative performance helped limit England’s creative players and steered the French to victory.

Goalkeepers

Pickford and Lloris came into the match in contrasting form — Pickfords 88.6 shot-stopping grade was the highest among all keepers at the World Cup, while Lloris’ 56.2 grade ranked just 24th among qualifying keepers.

However, it was the French captain who stood out, saving six of his seven shots on target faced, only conceding to a Kane penalty deemed unsaveable by our graders.

Pickford saved three of the five on-target shots he faced but could not keep out Tchouaméni’s stunner from outside the box. Lloris came out on top in the goalkeeper battle, which may have ultimately been the difference between the two sides.

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