Harry Kane’s best chance of England glory faded with World Cup penalty miss vs France.. but he’s still an-time great
HARRY KANE will keep on believing. He has no choice.
But in his heart of hearts, the England captain knows his best chance of glory with the national team has probably gone.
England captain Harry Kane missed a penalty against France in the quarter-finalsGetty
And with it, perhaps, his best opportunity of winning a major trophy in his career.
Kane will blame himself after skying his second penalty of the evening over the bar.
As this World Cup knockout stage has shown, spot-kicks can make a hero or villain of anyone.
Kane will pick himself up, dust himself down and go again.
But this was a bitter blow for captain and country.
Kane claimed before the Last 16 clash with Senegal that he and the team would never be in better shape to end however many years of hurt it is now.
Back then, it sounded like a call to arms.
Now it feels like an epitaph for the Three Lions’ latest tournament disappointment, Gareth Southgate’s England and even for Kane’s career.
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Harry Kane may have missed the chance to win a World Cup with EnglandReuters
Harry Kane could not stop England losing to France
His first penalty put him level with Wayne Rooney on 53 England goals. He will go on to break that record, Jimmy Greaves’ landmark for Tottenham and possibly Alan Shearer’s tally in the Premier League.
Great those achievements would be, they are not the same as winning a World Cup.
Kane wants to emulate Bobby Moore by lifting a shiny hunk of metal. If he could do it by also matching Geoff Hurst’s final hat-trick, so match the better.
But winning is the thing. And he still hasn’t done it.
It was 40 years since England had met France in the World Cup.
Ron Greenwood’s squad travelled to Spain with the nation humming along to their naff but catchy tune.
But Tottenham superstar Harry kane remains an all-time England greatGetty
But it was here in Qatar that you felt, this time, more than any other time, an England team might get it right.
Even before Morocco’s shock win over Portugal, there was good reason to believe Southgate’s men could dare to dream.
There was no outstanding team in the tournament. The closest things to it were Brazil, who had also gone out.
And France. Unfortunately.
Kane’s equaliser moved him one ahead of Giroud.
But the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker’s winner nudged him ahead again and, more importantly, a step closer to winning back-to-back World Cups.
England were knocked out of the World Cup quarter-finals by FranceGetty
At 36 years old, Giroud at least gives his former Premier League rival hope that his day will come.
On the other hand, the France No9 also shows Kane what might have been – and could still be – if he hadn’t remained loyal to Tottenham.
When major prizes continue to elude him at Arsenal, he left for Chelsea and ended up with a Champions League winner’s medal.
After being deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, off he went to Italy and won Serie A with AC Milan.
But if Giroud goes on to win a second World Cup, he will have sealed a place in history that Kane – and let’s face it, any England player of all time – can only dream of.
France’s captain Hugo Lloris has shown that playing for Tottenham need not be a barrier to glory.
England star Harry Kane can still win major honours despite the World Cup sorrowPA
Kane beat his club skipper with his first penalty, but could not convert the second.
In the first half, Lloris stopped one Kane shot with his body, and pushed away another.
These are the margins between success and failure, the great and the very very good.
Whatever happens in the future, Kane will be remembered for his goals, his drive and his relentless desire to keep on improving and adapting.
Maybe Tottenham will improve enough, soon enough, to give him the chance to compete for the biggest prizes, as someone of his talent and dedication deserves.
Perhaps everything will finally come together for England at Euro 2024, which will kick off in little more than 18 months’ time.
But in the desolation of defeat last night, it felt like something significant slipped away, for captain and country.