Familiar fate for the Three Lions: What went wrong for England against France?

England crashed out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup after a 2-1 quarter-final loss to France, and The Hard Tackle takes a deep dive in the defeat.

England were undoubtedly one of the best teams at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and they will be disappointed to have been eliminated from the competition at this stage at the hands of France. The Three Lions produced a number of accomplished performances during the group stages, and picked up a comprehensive win over Senegal in the Round of 16.

They were expected to produce an impressive performance against France as well, and they did not disappoint. However, England will be upset about the result in the end. The defending world champions took the lead early on in the first half thanks to a well-taken goal from Aurelien Tchouameni, who managed to find the back of the net with a long-range effort.

England were handed a way back into the game soon after when Bukayo Saka was brought down in the opposition box. Harry Kane slotted the equaliser from the spot, and the Three Lions looked like the better team after that.

As the French defenders struggled to contain the England attack, the likes of Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe threatened on the break from time to time. However, England never really managed to create too many clear-cut opportunities and were punished towards the end of the game.

Experienced striker Giroud scored an exceptional header to put France in the lead in the closing stages of the game. The Three Lions were handed another lifeline when Mason Mount was brought down in the box.

Captain Harry Kane stepped up once again, but he failed to deliver from the spot this time, skying his penalty. Here at The Hard Tackle, we now look at some of the main reasons why England failed to beat France and what went wrong for Gareth Southgate’s side in the quarter-finals.

Lack of clear-cut chances

England enjoyed a great deal of possession in the second half against France, and they were the team in the ascendancy. The likes of Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham caused all sorts of problems for France.

But the Three Lions did not create too many clear-cut opportunities. And despite his brilliant all-round play, Harry Kane did not have ample service in the box and England failed to make their possession count.

A slow, start and a cautious approach

England made a slow start to the game, and their cautious approach ended up costing them in the end. The Three Lions only stepped up and released the handbrake once they were trailing.

France seemed vulnerable from the start, and England had the quality to capitalise on that and put on some early pressure. Instead, they were cautious in their approach at the start and barely had any intensity in their play in the first half.

Substandard officiating helps France against England

England had a number of poor decisions go against them during the game against France. Dayot Upamecano, among others, could have been punished for a number of clumsy challenges, but he was allowed to get away with it.

Bukayo Saka, a key player for England, might even feel he could have been murdered on the night and would still have not won a foul. England could have benefited from several free-kicks that were not awarded in the crucial areas of the pitch, and Upamecano could have easily been in trouble with bookings on another day. France certainly had luck going their way.

Poor choice of substitutions

While poor officiating was a major reason for England’s downfall, they failed to capitalise on their possession and control in the second half of the game, as Gareth Southgate’s substitutions were baffling and reactive.

When England were chasing the game late on in the second half, Southgate brought on players like Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling. While Mount created the penalty opportunity, Sterling barely had any involvement in the game.

England could have benefited from someone like Trent Alexander-Arnold, who can create opportunities with long balls and send dangerous crosses into the France box. England have a number of quality headers on their side.

But they failed to utilise their strengths because of the lack of quality crosses into the box throughout the game. Furthermore, players like Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford should have been brought on earlier, when France were struggling to wrestle control of the game early on in the second half.

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