Two goals from Harry Kane wasn’t enough as Gareth Southgate’s side crumbled to a 3-2 defeat despite having a man advantage.
France started the game with the first chance on goal as Thomas Lemar (who meant that chance to be for Olivier Giroud) saw his “effort” thwarted by Tom Heaton as he had an awkward one to deal with. He managed to deal with that one though. Cool, calm, and collected.
England sprang into action quickly soon after and within the first eight minutes, the away side were ahead through Harry Kane. A textbook ball from Ryan Bertrand gave England the start they very much needed following a less than emphatic draw against Scotland. Kane scoring the first goals shows why he arguably should be chosen as permanent captain. (I’ll leave that argument for later).
Didier Deschamps’ side thought they should’ve levelled soon after as a cross from Paul Pogba found Giroud who shot past Heaton only to be called offside. Unlucky there.
Again, France had another chance to level when much hyped Kylian Mbappe fed through to Ousmane Dembele who could only fire wide. At that point, I thought that France should’ve been level. How they weren’t is ridiculous.
Eventually though, France did level through Samuel Umtiti, following a free kick. England could’ve done better there. Whilst Heaton’s positioning was good, I felt that the defenders around him weren’t of any help.
The home side could’ve taken the lead through Kylian “the boy wonder” Mbappe as he glided into the penalty area, but was foiled by Heaton.
I like that Bertrand was brave enough to have a chance at goal shortly after. He didn’t miss by much, thus forcing Hugo “I think I’m Manuel Neuer” Lloris to make a save. England had their first chance of the half as a corner whipped in the penalty area by Bertrand found Cahill, who headed down for Eric Dier, but he could only fire wide.
England were soon punished for not taking that chance as France took the lead through Djibril Sidibe. Again, Heaton made a save, and again, defenders weren’t of any help.
Alli was through on goal early on but was adjudged to have been fouled by Rafael Varane. After watching replays, it was clear a foul had been committed, however, I knew that the foul was made by Varane. After the use of VAR (video assistance referee), Varane was sent off for the foul. Kane took his usual duty of stepping up to take the penalty and scoring. He was never going to miss!
There were times which England looked shaky such as when Mbappe was through on goal and when he hit the crossbar (best chance of the half).
France took the lead once again through Dembele after a textbook assist from “boy wonder” Mbappe. Defensively, England looked frail once again.
They weren’t finished there, however, as they yearned for a fourth goal as the Dembele-Mbappe double act linked once more to heap pressure on the visiting side. A fourth was almost scored, but Mbappe was foiled by Butland who did a good job of preventing the “wonder kid” from scoring.
Thoughts on the game
Now, before I rip England to shreds, I just say something on VAR. whilst it worked, I would’ve preferred it if we could listen to the conversation of the referee and the video referee like we do in rugby. What are your thoughts on that?
Here’s something I forgot to mention. The foul on Raheem Sterling in the first half, I felt that if that had happened a competitive match, that would’ve been a penalty. I’m not so sure as to why referees are more reluctant give penalties in friendlies than in competitive matches. What’s your view on that? Should referees be lenient when it comes to friendlies or should they retain the same values as they do in competitive matches?
Now, to “rip England to shreds”. Going forward, I felt that Southgate’s side were good but defensively, they need to sharpen up. France’s first two goals, I felt England could’ve done better. As I said before, I felt that Heaton could’ve done with better service.
What are your thoughts on the game? Do your think VAR could work (albeit with improved functionality) in the future?
With this loss being England’s second of the year to a big side, do you think it’s a cause for concern?
Feature image credit: cisko66