MARSEILLE – French striker Antoine Griezmann took advantage of mistakes by the defending World Champions Germany and scored twice to book a place in the Final.
With the 2-0 scoreline the host will now face Portugal in Saint Denis on July 10.
Germans Take Control Early
The first good chance of the game to no surprise came from Griezmann who found space to take a shot to the far post but Manuel Neuer denied him. From that point on the Germans took control of the possession of the ball, created a few chances and put the French back-line under duress.
In the 13th minute Emre Can who had not played a minute in the competition quickly became one of the most dangerous player for Germany was able to serve a ball into the far post where Thomas Muller was only able to chip the cross which went wide off the mark. In the following play Can had a shot of his own saved by Lloris.
The next chance came in the 27th minute when once again Lloris was called upon this time to save a shot from distance from Bastian Schweinsteiger.
It looked as if it was only a matter of time before Germany would get ahead in the game. However in the final minutes of the first half the defending world champions allowed France to get back in the game which proved to be a costly mistake.
Th first warning came in the 42nd minute when center back Jerome Boateng failed to field the ball and allowed Olivier Giroud to have nothing but space between him and the goal. It took a great effort and miraculous sliding tackle from Benedikt Howedes to block Giroud’s shot.
In a corner kick in the 45th minute a header from Patrice Evra hit Schweinsteiger extended right arm and was called for a penalty.
Griezmann who came into the semifinal match as the leading scorer in the tournament with 4 goals, took the penalty and added the fifth to his tally sending Neuer the wrong way just before the end of the first half.
After having been better for most of the first half, Germany found themselves trailing at the half. The team was visibly frustrated and that translated into the way they were playing.
Giround and Griezmann created a couple of chance in the first minutes of the second half. Finding themselves down a goal, Germany began to play long balls hoping to force a mistake.
Although Germany eventually regained the possession, the team was falling short of creating chances.
In the 72nd minute a cross into the box force Neuer to come up to cut it but the ball fell right in the path of Griezmann who was able to tap in his second goal of the night.
It wasn’t until Germany was down 2-0 when the team finally seemed to be able to create chances. Although it had to do more with France dropping back to defend than Germany mounting a decisive attack.
France suffered the most a few minutes after Griezmann’s second goal. In the 79th minute a set piece delivered to the heart of the box was almost sent into the back of the net by the French defense, in the ensuing corner kick Shkodran Mustafi saw his shot go over the bar. Three minutes later Howedes header went just high of the goal of Lloris
The last opportunity for Germany came in the 93rd minute when Joshua Kimmich’s header was saved by Hugo Lloris.
Is worth noting that the most active player defensively from France was Samuel Umtiti who played just for the second time with the national team after making his debut in the quarterfinals against Iceland.
The FC Barcelona bound center back will likely get the nod to start in the backline once again in the final.
Due to injuries France had to find replacements at center back for Mamadou Sakho, Raphael Varane, Jeremy Mathieu, Aymeric Laporte and Kurt Zouma. Umtiti played against Iceland due to the suspension of Adil Rami.
For all the glory
France who had a shaky start and had many questions around it’s starting lineup is now 90 minutes away from their third European Championship.
Their rival Portugal who had an abysmal group stage has slowly gotten better and were able to come on top on the weaker side of the bracket after sending Croatia, Poland and Wales home.
Cristiano Ronaldo has also found a bit more momentum on his play and now has what it could be an opportunity to win a major trophy with the national team that is unlikely to repeat itself in the near future.
France come in as the best offense in the tournament having scored 13 goals so far. France has also been strong defensively and has allowed a total of four goals in six games. Two of the allowed goals have come from penalties and the other two they conceded were against Iceland when they had a four-goal lead.
Portugal is seeking its first European Championship and to cause France the same heartache they went through 12 years ago when they lost the 2004 Euro final to Greece at home. While France could win its fourth major tournament as a host. France previously won the 1984 European Championship and the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup as host. The only two titles France has conquered outside their boundaries are the 2000 UEFA Euro in Belgium-Netherlands and the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup in Korea-Japan.
The winner of the European Championship will become the seventh confirmed participant at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.