Olivier Giroud compared France’s tense 2022 World Cup quarter-final win over England to their semi-final victory against Belgium four years ago.
France scraped past the Three Lions 2-1 at Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday, with Giroud’s deflected header ultimately the difference.
Aurelien Tchouameni had fired the world champions ahead, but England responded strongly and levelled through a Harry Kane penalty.
Gareth Southgate’s side might have equalised a second time following Giroud’s goal, only for Kane to fire a second spot-kick over the crossbar.
Victory sends France through to a semi-final against surprise package Morocco, with Didier Deschamps’ side looking like favourites to retain their crown.
But this tie showed how hard it is to win the World Cup, with Giroud reminded of a 1-0 defeat of Belgium in Russia.
“The match tonight reminded of the match against Belgium in 2018,” Giroud told a news conference. “We fought tooth and nail.
“They came back into the match, started to believe, but we showed we could be dangerous on the counter-attack.
-8 – France fired 8 fewer shots than England (8 attempted, 16 faced), their highest differential in a major tournament win (World Cup + EURO) since Opta began analyzing these competitions (1966). Resilience.
— OptaJean (@OptaJean)
“We were a bit lucky because Kane misses the penalty, but we gave our all and fought tooth and nail. It reminds me of the mentality of 2018. This group deserves to get there.”
Giroud had equalled and then passed Thierry Henry’s France goals record earlier in the finals.
“All goals are important,” he added. “The fact is I went ahead of Thierry Henry with the 52nd, but this 53rd is perhaps even better.
“A minute before, I had a chance and I could have scored. I thought I might get another chance, and it was unbelievable to score.”