Wednesday, April 24, 2024

France and Morocco complete semi-finals line-up

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England’s World Cup campaign ended in disappointment as they went out 1-2 despite a fine performance in the quarter-finals against cup holders France at Al Bayt Stadium.

Harry Kane’s late penalty miss proved decisive after he had earlier equalled Wayne Rooney’s England record of 53 goals from the spot.

France took a 17th-minute lead when Aurelien Tchouameni’s 25-yard drive beat Jordan Pickford low to his right.

England were the better team for long spells and created chances, deservedly pulling level nine minutes after the break when Kane beat Tottenham team-mate Hugo Lloris in convincing fashion with his penalty after Tchouameni fouled Bukayo Saka.

France regained the lead 12 minutes from time when Olivier Giroud headed in Antoine Griezmann’s perfect cross but England had a swift chance to draw level when Theo Hernandez fouled substitute Mason Mount in the box.

Kane had the opportunity to make history but uncharacteristically blazed his penalty over the top and England’s World Cup dream was over as France look forward to a semi-final against Morocco.

Morocco 1, Portugal 0

Morocco became the first African nation to reach a World Cup semi-final and ended the hopes of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.

Striker Youssef En-Nesyri scored the winning goal in the first half, leaping highest to beat goalkeeper Diogo Costa to the ball and heading in to spark pandemonium at Al Thumama Stadium.

The north African side’s supporters populated most of the venue and joyously celebrated their breakthrough moment on the global stage.

Ronaldo came off the bench in the 50th minute to equal the men’s all-time appearance record of 196 in international matches, but he could not drag his side back into the contest.

Morocco, who will face France in the last four, were happy to play on the counter and grabbed the opener just before the break when En-Nesyri headed in from Yahya Attiyat-Allah’s cross. (BBC)

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