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World Cup Agent Match Report: ‘The better team lost’

They think it’s all over, it is now as we publish our final World Cup Agent Match report following England’s quarter final exit over the weekend.

‘We were unlucky to be going home’

Stuart Robinson, director of Zoom Estate Agents


What drama. Pure footballing entertainment. England took on the reigning World Champions, France, at the Al Bayt stadium on Saturday evening.

Everyone knew how difficult it would be coming into the game. After all, they are the holders and have the best player in the World, according to many, Kylian Mbappé. He seemed to be the focus for England players, especially Kyle Walker who appeared to relish the challenge.

The game was very evenly matched, with both teams having their fair share of the ball and control of the game. Olivier Giroud came close in the 11th minute with a trademark header but England seemed fairly content. A few shaky touches and nerves showing but England began growing into the game. Until the 19th minute, where Aurélien Tchouaméni fired the holders into a lead with a thumping strike from distance. At full stretch, Jordan Pickford wasn’t able to get a hand on it. In truth the discussion shouldn’t be, if he should’ve saved it. But, why did England not get a free kick down the other end?

Bukayo Saka, who was arguably England’s best player and wrongfully brought off, was clearly fouled by Dayot Upamecano. Perhaps if it was the other way round, the referee would have given it. Without getting too wound up, both English and French fans can agree that the referee had a terrible game. It’s clear to see why he was sent home and will no longer be officiating at the rest of the tournament.

England came roaring back and had a great spell of the ball before Harry Kane expertly turned Upamecano on the 22nd minute, before his shot was stopped by his Tottenham Hotspur teammate Hugo Lloris. That seemed like a pattern in the game, Kane was a constant thorn in the French defence, especially Upamecano, who had brought him down time and time again without the referee blowing for a clear free kick. VAR overturned his decision with Luke Shaw ambitiously going for goal which did cause some panic on Hugo Lloris’ record-breaking 143rd cap for his nation.

After the interval, England came out firing, especially that man Jude Bellingham, the heartbeat of the team this tournament. He hit a thunderous volley which Lloris was equal to again. The young lions, Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka continued to roar the team to a deserved comeback, with the latter winning a penalty after a neat one-two with Jude before a blatant foul by Tchouaméni.

Harry Kane vs Hugo Lloris. Club teammate vs club teammate. If anyone knew Lloris’ weakness it was Kane but if anyone knew where Kane likes to go, it was Lloris. Just like that it was game on. 1-1. Deservedly so.

The French bounced back, just like you would expect from World Champions. Rabiot had an audacious long strike before Ousmane Dembélé missed a gilt-edged chance after some brilliant work from Mbappe, who for his standards, was fairly quiet. England had some more chances to take the lead, especially after a brilliant header from Harry Maguire hit the post from a free kick.

It felt at times like a basketball game, it was end to end! England had another chance through Saka before Pickford kept out a Giroud volley. However, that man, Giroud, who became France's all time top scorer earlier this tournament, would not be denied a second time. A pinpoint Antoine Griezmann delivery was headed home by Giroud who managed to find space in between the pairing of John Stones and Harry Maguire.

Could England stage a late comeback? Well they had a fantastic opportunity, handed to them by Theo Hernandez who was clumsy to barge Mason Mount to the floor. Clear as day penalty and Harry Kane had the chance again to draw England level. Kane had drawn level with Wayne Rooney on 53 goals and now had the opportunity to break that record and get England on level terms.

84 minutes on the clock, it was all on Harry Kane. For a split second the country seemed to pause, the pressure could only be excruciating. Unfortunately for Harry, he blazed the penalty over and at that stage, one would feel like that was England’s tournament over. Marcus Rashford was nail bitingly close to a leveller from a free kick but it was just not meant to be.

England out at the quarter-finals stage, where they had a chance to play Morocco in the semi-final.

The lads gave it their all and were brilliant throughout the tournament. As Jude Bellingham said, the better team on the night lost, but that’s football. High moments and very low ones too. This group is young and I’m sure they’ll bounce back in tournaments to come. We can be proud of the team who went toe-to-toe with many peoples favourites.

It’s important now to not get on the back of Harry Kane and support him. Hopefully we as a nation will learn from what a small minority of people did when Saka, Sancho and Rashford missed penalties at Euro 2020 final.

Will Gareth Southgate be at the helm? Time will tell. All we know is that this group gave 110% throughout and are very unlucky to be going home.
Will France go on to retain their title? Will they face Croatia who’ll be looking for revenge? Can Messi get the World Cup that has eluded his career? Or will Morocco be the first African nation to win the World Cup?

Thank you everyone for joining us throughout this tournament.

‘Attention turns to Euro 2024’
Rob Sabin, director, Miles & Barr

To everyone’s dismay, England’s World Cup journey is now over as they fell short to France in the quarter finals on Saturday.

Despite an extremely impressive performance by the Three Lions, the challenge of facing the current World Cup holders, France, proved to be a challenge too big. Olivier Giroud’s (France’s recently crowned all-time top scorer) goal was the difference between the teams after Harry Kane missed his second penalty of the game late on.

The game left many feeling resentful towards to the referee, Wilton Sampaio, who in the words of Gary Neville had a “shocker” of a game. However, it could also be said that England didn’t make the most of their dominance in certain spells of the game, whereas France was more clinical in taking their chances – perhaps a lesson for future England teams when they reach the latter stages of major tournaments.

Though England’s journey in the World Cup is over and many will be extremely saddened that the dream is now gone for now, it’s safe to say that the whole of the nation is simultaneously filled with great pride in what the team achieved in Qatar. Not only did England bring a level of attacking football and aggression to get forward that is not often associated with the nation, but they also reached the quarter finals, which should never be underestimated.

The attacking approach paid dividends for England as they scored the most goals of any England team in a single major tournament (13). Harry Kane is now level with Wayne Rooney for goals scored (53) and Bellingham is the first teenager to score for England in the World Cup since the legendary Michael Owen - just a few of the records this England squad broke during this World Cup.

The team showed togetherness and support for one another throughout each stage of the tournament and established us as one of the top nations within a footballing sense. Though being considered a top nation has been well earned and is a great achievement, the title brings great expectations with it. Expectations that may prove to be too much for current manager, Gareth Southgate.

Since his arrival as England manager in October 2016, Southgate has not only transformed the side, but he has also sparked hope in every England fan once more. The job he has performed will ensure he goes down as one of the most successful England managers to date and rightfully so.

Though Southgate has a contract with England until the end of the 2024 Euros, due to be held in Germany, it appears that he may be questioning his position as England manager. Southgate admitted that now is “not the right time” to make a decision on his future. Reports are suggesting that he believes that he has taken this England team as far as he can.

However, England fans will be upset to hear the news as Southgate has encapsulated the love of fans across the nation due to his recent successes. Between 1968 and 2016, England had won just six knockout games at major tournaments. During Southgate’s current six-year stint, they’ve won just as many games, proving just how big a job Southgate has performed with this team. Not to mention that he guided England to a Semi-Final in the 2018 World Cup, a Final at Euro 2020 and now a Quarter Final in 2022.

His undeniable love for his country was and will never be in question and if he were to step down, he would of course leave with the respect of millions across the nation. Time will reveal his final decision.

Until then, the England squad should all hold their heads high following, yet another successful major tournament. All eyes now turn to working towards being Euro 2024 winners.

Thank you, England and thank you Gareth Southgate for another memorable tournament.


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