England throw support behind 'incredible' Kane after penalty heartbreak against France

Captain missed second penalty as the Three Lions crashed out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage

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England manager Gareth Southgate and midfielder Jordan Henderson have thrown their support behind Harry Kane after his missed penalty in the World Cup quarter-final defeat to France on Saturday night.

Kane had pulled England level from the spot early in the second half after France took a 17th-minute lead through Aurelien Tchouameni's long-range effort. The World Cup holders retook the lead with an Olivier Giroud header 12 minutes from time, before Kane had the chance to restore parity with a second penalty but blazed his effort well over the bar.

"We know how many penalties Harry has scored for us," England midfielder Henderson said after the 2-1 loss at Al Bayt Stadium.

"He scored the first one and how many goals he has scored to get us here ... he'll be stronger for it in the long run I'm sure. He's a world-class striker and our captain and we wouldn't have even been here without him."

The first penalty was Kane's 53rd goal for his country, drawing him level with Wayne Rooney as England's all time top scorer in international football.

Kane was top scorer in Russia four years ago with six goals as England reached the semi-finals but the 29-year-old Tottenham forward managed only two in Qatar.

England manager Southgate also backed his captain, saying: "For me, we win and lose as a team and we've let a couple of goals in and missed a few chances.

"Harry has been incredible for us, so reliable in those sorts of situations. We wouldn't be here, but for the number of goals he scored for us."

England had been confident of a good showing in Qatar after reaching the World Cup last four in 2018 and the final of the European Championship last year.

"It feels like a missed chance because I felt the performances were really good and the focus and the hunger was good every single day," Henderson said.

"You've got to give credit to France, they're a good team. But I think I felt it was there for us to win tonight. "

England were chasing the game after going behind to Tchouameni's strike but were the much better side in the second half.

"It was disappointing to go 1-0 down but I thought we showed character and the mentality to keep going in the second half and find the equaliser," Henderson said. "We gave it everything and it wasn't our night." ​

England v France player ratings

Southgate said he did not think England could have done any more and had given the world champions a great game.

"I think it was just the key moments, you're playing in a high level game where there aren't going to be many chances created and within most of the big moments we were in the right place," he said.

"We had more shots on goal and yeah the goalkeeper's made a couple of really good saves for us. But it's a game of fine margins."

France progress to face history-makers Morocco, who became the first African side to reach the semi-finals when they beat Portugal 1-0 earlier on Saturday. The other semi-final will be contested by 2018 finalists Croatia and Argentina.

Updated: December 11, 2022, 11:20 AM