UEFA Euro 2016
Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, France
45’+2′ Griezmann (P)
Hosts France booked their place in the 2016 UEFA European Championship Final after defeating World Champions Germany 2-0 at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille.
A controversial penalty on the stroke of half-time by Antoine Griezmann had put Les Bleus ahead before the Atlético Madrid forward added his second of the night to ensure France would progress into their third European Championship Final where they will play Portugal. It will be their first European Championship Final on home soil since 1984, when they beat Spain. Les Bleus also won the competition in 2000.
France started well and went close to taking the lead in the sixth minute when Blaise Matuidi and Griezmann combined before the latter fired an effort that Manuel Neuer was forced to palm away.
Six minutes later, Germany had a good chance when a first-time cross from Emre Can was met by Thomas Müller who struck the ball first-time, but he didn’t connect with the ball properly and the ball drifted just wide of the post. A minute later, Germany went close when Jonas Hector found Can who fired a deflected effort that Hugo Lloris had to palm away.
In the 24th minute, France went close when a Dimitri Payet freekick curled past the wall but Neuer made a comfortable stop.
A minute later, Germany went close when Schweinsteiger received the ball to fire an effort that Lloris was forced to tip over.
In the 36th minute, France went close again when a Paul Pogba freekick beat the wall but once again Neuer saved with ease.
Two minutes later, Germany had a good chance when Matuidi lost possession and Müller received the ball before firing an effort from-range that Lloris gathered at the second-attempt.
Three minutes later, France went close when Samuel Umtiti found Patrice Evra who pulled the ball back to Griezmann who fired an effort into the side-netting from a tight-angle.
On the stroke of half-time, France were given a golden opportunity to take the lead when the referee controversially awarded the hosts a penalty after Schweinsteiger was harshly penalised for handball. The 31 year old German was about a yard away as he challenged Evra for a header when the ball hit the German midfielder’s arm from point-blank range, making it difficult for the former Bayern Munich midfielder. Nevertheless, the referee pointed to the spot and Griezmann capitalised: sending Neuer the wrong way to put France ahead, against the run of play.
After the break, France went close to doubling their lead when Griezmann fired an effort just off-target via a deflection.
After the hour-mark, France went close when a Griezmann corner was met by Laurent Koscielny but his effort looped onto the roof of the net in the 62nd minute. Five minutes later, France went close again when Evra found Payet who beat a couple of players before firing a tame effort that Neuer saved with ease.
Five minutes later, France doubled their lead. After Joshua Kimmich lost possession in his own area, Pogba sent in a teasing delivery that Neuer punched into the path of Griezmann whose deft touch rolled home into the unguarded net. It was his sixth goal of the competition.
A minute later, Kimmich very nearly atoned for his error when he cut inside before curling an effort that rattled the bar from-range, it was a strike that had Lloris well-beaten. Two minutes later, Germany went close when a Julian Draxler effort from a freekick curled just wide of the far-post.
Three minutes later, Germant went close to pulling a goal back when a corner caused havoc and the ball fell to substitute Shkodran Mustafi but he volleyed over the bar. Three minutes later, Germany went close again when Benedikt Höwedes met a delivery from a freekick but he could only head over the bar.
Four minutes later, France went close to adding a third when Griezmann did well to shrug off his man before shifting the ball onto his weaker right foot and let fly but Neuer made a comfortable save.
Germany had one last chance to pull a goal back in the second minute of added time, when a delivery from Mustafi was met by Kimmich whose header was terrifically palmed away by Lloris before substitute Mario Götze headed wide from another delivery.
That was the last opportunity of the match as France held on to defeat the World Champions to progress into their fifth ever international Final.
The result meant that France progressed into their third European Championship Final, their first on home soil since 1984. They will play Portugal who beat Wales yesterday whilst Germany bow out at the Semi-final stage of the European Championships for the second consecutive time.