Marseille (France): Antoine Griezmann scored a brilliant brace to power hosts France to a comfortable 2-0 win over Germany in the semi-finals of the European Championship here on Thursday and set up a final showdown against Portugal.
The hosts survived a barrage of German pressure in the first half before Griezmann’s penalty gave them a lead just before the break, before doing pretty much the same in the second until the Atletico Madrid man struck again to put the game beyond the World Champions.
The striker has now six goals in the ongoing tournament.
After winning their first major semi-final appearance since the 2006 World Cup, Didier Deschamps’ side will be favourites to win the title as they look to seal glory having won their two previous Euro finals.
For the semis clash the world champions’ side was re-shuffled due to the absences of Mario Gomez, Mats Hummels and Sami Khedira.
In the match that saw him crowned the most-capped European player at major international tournaments, Bastian Schweinsteiger denied Patrick Evra the chance to head at goal with his arm from close-range after Griezmann’s corner.
The referee had no hesitation in awarding France a spot-kick and Griezmann calmly guided the ball past Manuel Neuer, who went the wrong way.
Germany suffered yet another huge blow when key centre-back, Jerome Boateng, limped off after an hour.
Despite the first goal, Germany continued to have the best of possession but failed to sneak past the French defence.
With 18 minutes remaining in the tie, a mistake from Joshua Kimmich inside his own penalty area was pounced upon by French midfielder Paul Pogba.
A clever footwork left Mustafi for dead before he sits up a cross that can only be parried by Neuer, and Griezmann was first on the scene to prod home his sixth goal of the tournament.
Following the second of the night for France, there was no looking back for the hosts as they held on well to not allow Germany to score and eventually kept a clean sheet and book a date with Portugal in final at home soil.
First Published | 8 July 2016 10:00 AM