HARRY KANE will keep believing. He has no choice.
But in his heart of hearts, the England captain knows his best chances for glory with the national team are likely to be over.
And with it, perhaps his best opportunity to win a major trophy in his career.
Kane will blame himself after blasting his second penalty of the night over the bar.
As this World Cup knockout round showed, penalty takers can make anyone a hero or villain.
Kane will pick himself up, dust himself off and walk away.
But that was a heavy blow for captain and country.
Kane claimed ahead of the last 16 clash against Senegal that he and the team would never be in better shape to end the many years of injury.
Back then it sounded like a call to arms.
Now it feels like an epitaph to the Three Lions’ latest tournament disappointment, Gareth Southgate’s England and even Kane’s career.
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His first penalty put him level with Wayne Rooney on 53 goals for England. He will break that record, Jimmy Greaves’ milestone for Tottenham and possibly Alan Shearer’s Premier League record.
These successes would be great, they are not the same as winning a world championship.
Kane tries to emulate Bobby Moore by picking up a shiny piece of metal. If he could make it by also taking Geoff Hurst’s last hat-trick, then you better fold.
But winning is the thing. And he still hasn’t.
It was 40 years since England met France in the World Cup.
Ron Greenwood’s crew traveled to Spain and the nation hummed along to their naïve but catchy tune.
But here in Qatar, this time there was more of a feeling than ever that an English team could do it right.
Even before Morocco’s shock victory over Portugal, there was good reason to believe that Southgate’s men could dare to dream.
There was no outstanding team in the tournament. The closest came Brazil, which was also out.
And France. Unfortunately.
Kane’s equalizer put him ahead of Giroud.
But the winner of the former Arsenal and Chelsea striker has put him back in the front and, more importantly, brought him one step closer to winning back-to-back World Cups.
At 36, Giroud is at least giving his former Premier League rivals hope that his day will come.
On the other hand, the French number 9 Kane also shows what could have been – and still could be – if he had not remained loyal to Tottenham.
As he continued to miss out on big prizes at Arsenal, he moved to Chelsea and was eventually rewarded with a Champions League winners’ medal.
After feeling overwhelmed at Stamford Bridge, he went to Italy and won Serie A with AC Milan.
But if Giroud wins a second World Cup, he’ll have secured a place in history that Kane – and let’s face it, every England player of all time – can only dream of.
France captain Hugo Lloris has shown that playing for Tottenham doesn’t have to be an obstacle to glory.
Kane beat his club skipper with his first penalty but failed to convert the second.
In the first half, Lloris stopped a Kane shot with his body and shoved another away.
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, drive and relentless desire to keep improving and adapting.
Perhaps Tottenham will improve soon enough to give them a chance to compete for the biggest prizes, as someone of their talent and dedication deserves.
Perhaps things will finally come together for England at Euro 2024, which starts in just over 18 months.
But in the bleakness of last night’s defeat, it felt as if something significant for captain and country was slipping away.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6889213/harry-kane-england-2022-world-cup-france/ Harry Kane’s greatest shot at England glory faded with the World Cup penalty against France, but he’s still great