Euro 2016-Griezmann make sure final birth for France

Germany v France - EURO 2016 - Semi Final
Football Soccer – Germany v France – EURO 2016 – Semi Final – Stade Velodrome, Marseille, France – 7/7/16 Germany’s Manuel Neuer attempts to claim the ball leading to France’s Antoine Griezmann scoring their second goal REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach Livepic

Stade Velodrome  Marseille, France 7th July 2016: Two-goal Antoine Griezmann fired France into the Euro 2016 final on Thursday when a smash and grab 2-0 victory over a territorially dominant Germany ended 58 years of tournament suffering at the hands of their neighbours.

Griezmann drove in a penalty at the end of the first half after a needless handball by German captain Bastian Schweinsteiger and poked home in the 72nd minute following a blunder by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to set up a final against Portugal in Paris on Sunday.

“We are as happy as kids, the whole country is behind us,” Griezmann said.

“This is the result of a group and of a lot of hard work from the staff. Now we’re in the final and we want to lift that trophy. Playing a final is great but it’s winning it that counts.”

World champions Germany dominated the match in terms of possession but their lack of a deadly finisher cost them and razor-sharp Griezmann, whose double took his tournament-leading tally to six, was the difference.

It was the first time France had beaten Germany in a competitive match since the 1958 World Cup, including defeats in the semi-finals of the 1982 and 1986 World Cups and the quarter-finals two years ago.

The hosts will go into the final as strong favourites to emulate the teams of 1984 and 1998, who won the European and world titles on home soil.

Germany will wonder how they failed to score but, after Jerome Boateng’s handball gaveItaly a lifeline in the quarter-finals, their captain’s similarly inexplicable high hand swung the game France’s way when they most needed it.

France, roared on in a fantastic atmosphere, had torn forward in the opening exchanges.

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