AL KHOR, Qatar -- Late in the match and with the ball resting motionless on the penalty spot, Harry Kane stood ready, concentrated, eyeing the goal and his teammate from Tottenham in front of it.
He started his run, he kicked the ball, and he missed — badly.
The shot sailed well over the crossbar and flew into the stands. France forward Kylian Mbappe celebrated emphatically, but Kane was far less animated. He pulled the front of his white England shirt up over his mouth, doing his best to ignore the wild scene going on around him as an immediate return to the World Cup semifinals slipped away.
That penalty chance came in the 84th minute and with England trailing 2-1 against the defending champions from France. It was the chance to get back on even terms, exactly 30 minutes after Kane had scored from that same penalty spot to make it 1-1.
The match ended 2-1, with France back in the semifinals and England gone — the team's earliest elimination from a major soccer tournament since the 2016 European Championship.
“We know how many penalties Harry’s scored for us — he scored the first one — how many goals he’s contributed for us to even get here,” England midfielder Jordan Henderson said. “He’ll be stronger for it in the long run, I’m sure. He’s a world class striker, our captain and like I say, we wouldn’t be here without him.”
Kane won the Golden Boot as the leading scorer at the 2018 World Cup, when England reached the semifinals for its best showing at soccer's biggest tournament since 1990. He scored four goals last year at Euro 2020, when England reached the final but lost to Italy in a penalty shootout.
In Qatar, Kane started all five matches and scored two goals. The first came against Senegal in the round of 16. The second on Saturday was Kane’s 53rd goal for England, moving him into a tie with Wayne Rooney for the most goals scored for the national team.
“He’s been incredible for us and is so reliable in those sorts of situations," England coach Gareth Southgate. "We wouldn’t be here but for the number of goals he’s scored for us.”
The penalties against France pitted Kane, a Tottenham striker, against Hugo Lloris, a Tottenham goalkeeper.
On the first attempt, Lloris guessed the wrong way, diving to his left as the ball went into the opposite corner.
Unfortunately for Kane, it didn’t matter which way Lloris dived on the second attempt.