France has beaten Germany 2-0 in their Euro 2016 semi-final thanks to two goals from Antoine Griezmann. France will now face Portugal in the final on Sunday in Paris.
Griezmann, the top scorer at Euro 2016 with six goals, scored once in each half. The first was a penalty right at the end of the first 45 minutes after Bastian Schweinsteiger was adjudged to have handled in the box.
France started the match on the front foot as both sides raced out of the blocks in Marseille. Griezmann almost gave the hosts the lead after just seven minutes with German keeper Manuel Neuer getting a hand on the 25-year-old’s goal bound shot after excellent French approach play.
Germany then took control as it started on its brilliant passing game. The Germans kept the ball from the French with effortless confidence. A number of last-ditch challenges were necessary to prevent Joachim Low’s side from going in at the break with a lead. Liverpool man Emre Can came the closest for the world champions, with his shot from the edge of the box pushed away by Hugo Lloris.
With Griezmann giving the French the lead on the stroke of half-time, the emphasis was on the Germans to find a way back into the game, but it was Didier Deschamps’ men who scored the crucial second goal of the game as Griezmann stabbed home a loose ball after 72 minutes.
The game opened up in the last quarter of an hour as Germany dispensed with the slow build-up play, with Joshua Kimmich hitting the post for Germany and Julian Draxler also going close with a free-kick. But France defended resolutely and now progress to the final. In it, they will meet Portugal.
The French have been crowned champions of Europe on two occasions, first in 1984 and again in 2000. They last won the FIFA World Cup in 1998 on home soil and with the Euros played in France this year, Deschamps’ side are clear favorites to be crowned European champions for the third time in their history.
France has also never lost a European Championship final and after beating reigning world champions Germany, it will go into the game at the Stade de France full of confidence.