Antoine Griezmann produced one of his best performances of Euro 2016 to help France qualify for the final of the Europe’s top football competition.
The Frenchman scored in both halves of a keenly contested encounter against world champions Germany to give Les Bleus a well-deserved victory and set up a cracker final against Portugal in 3 days time.
As is usually the case each time France play, the Stade Velodrome in Marseille was packed to its capacity in a tense and nervy atmosphere with fans full of expectations for their team.
The game began in an intense fashion, Germany dominating possession in the middle and looking the most likely to score.
However, trouble started for Germany mere seconds before the halftime whistle, as skipper and leader Bastian Schweinsteiger went in full force to head clear from the German penalty box, but then got caught in two worlds as the ball struck his arm. Referee Nicola Rizzoli immediately pointed to the spot to award a second consecutive penalty in two games against the Die Mannschaft.
Schweini will be disappointed to let down his team on a day he reached the milestone of being the most capped player at major international tournaments.
Antoine Griezmann stepped up and sent Manuel Neuer the wrong way to prove that his penalty miss against Real Madrid in the Champions League final was only a fluke.
Griezmann would score again in the 72nd minute to end Neuer and Germany’s run of having never conceded a goal from open play in the competition.
In the early stages of the game, Griezmann already looked the most likely to get a goal among the France attacking trio as he forced Neuer to make a low and good save, albeit from his weaker right foot. Germany immediately equalized on saved chances as Emre Can drew a fine save from Lloris.
Minutes later shouts for a German penalty for an alleged foul on Toni Kroos by Paul Pogba was waved aside by Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli.
German hearts fell further when charismatic defender Jerome Boateng went down injured and subsequently got substituted for Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi.
With 18 minutes left on the clock, Paul Pogba produced some masterclass down the left. He smoothly turned newly introduced Mustafi inside out to deliver a cross which was pushed kindly into the Griezmann’s path, courtesy of Manuel Neuer’s last ditch attempt to slap the ball away from danger. The Atletico striker had the simplest of touches to put in his 6th goal of the tournament.
An attempt from Kimmich which came off-the-post and a pinpoint header, which also came from him, was the closest Germany could come to getting a goal as the host sealed a spot in Sunday’s final.
France will go into the Euro 2016 final looking to claim the €8 million prize money that is awarded to the winner of the competition, however, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal should not be underrated, as they have managed to somehow win games despite looking incompetent and incapable.