World Cup holder France remains on course in its title defense after beating England 2-1 to reach the semifinals at Qatar 2022.

Aurélien Tchouaméni gave France a first-half lead, his powerful shot setting the game ablaze at the Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday.

England grew into the game and team captain Harry Kane emphatically converted from the penalty spot to draw the 2018 semifinalists level. The goal was his 53rd for his country, drawing him level with Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time top scorer.

With just over 10 minutes remaining, Olivier Giroud’s header gave the reigning champion the lead once again, with Kane skying a late penalty as France was able to hold onto victory.

France will face Morocco in the semifinals on Wednesday after it beat Portugal earlier in the day to become the first ever team from Africa to reach this stage of the World Cup.

The French victory ensured Didier Deschamps’ team is the first defending champion to have progressed past the quarterfinals this century.

Giroud called France’s performance “amazing.”

“At the end of the game on our last chances, we knew how to be dangerous. I knew I was going to have another chance and Grizi gave me a great pass,” Giroud told the French Football Federation’s website, referring to Antoine Griezmann, who set up France’s winning goal with a superb cross.

“Tonight, it was a great match, we know the talent of this young English generation, we made a very solid match, we tried to be powerful in our counterattacks.”

Credit: CNN

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