Griezmann double sends hosts France into Euro 2016 final
MARSEILLE, FRANCE – Antoine Griezmann’s double fired France into the Euro 2016 final as an emotional smash and grab 2-0 win over a territorially dominant Germany on Thursday ended 58 years of tournament suffering at their hands.
Griezmann drove in a penalty at the end of the first half after a needless handball byGermany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The striker then poked the ball home for the host nation in the 72nd minute following a blunder by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to set up a meeting with Portugal in Paris on Sunday.
World champions Germany dominated in terms of possession but their lack of a deadly finisher cost them and the razor-sharp Griezmann, whose double took his tournament-leading goal tally to six, was the difference.
“We are extremely happy and it was beautiful to live it,” said Griezmann.
“But there is still one match left. We have to keep our feet on the ground and from tomorrow let’s prepare for this final.”
It was the first time France defeated Germany in a competitive match since the 1958 World Cup, a drought that included defeats in the semi-finals of the 1982 and 1986 World Cups and the quarter-finals two years ago.
Their reward is a place in the final where they will be strong favourites to emulate the teams of 1984 and 1998 who won the European and world titles respectively on home soil.
“I have played in many finals, most of them on the pitch. Now I’m on the bench,” said France coach Didier Deschamps, captain of the victorious 1998 squad.
“We deserve it. We played the best team in the world and we knocked them out. Yes, we suffered, but we never gave up. I always trusted my players and this is their reward.” –Reuters