Marseille: Antoine Griezmann scored twice on Thursday as France beat world champions Germany 2-0 to seal a place in the Euro 2016 final. Griezmann is now the top scorer at the European Championship finals with six goals. The victory in Marseille mean Les Bleus face Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal in Sunday's final at the Stade de France. Germany dominated the ball more but the hosts France had the last laugh as they beat the world champions first time in major tournaments since 1958. Here are the five key moments in a game of twists and turns:
Germany decimated by injuries, suspension
Germany's task was made more difficult ahead of kick-off with three notable absentees from Joachim Loew's squad. Defender Mats Hummels was ruled out through suspension after picking up his second booking of the tournament against Italy in the quarter-finals, with midfielder Sami Khedira (groin) and Mario Gomez (thigh) both sidelined by injury. Germany suffered another setback when centre-back Jerome Boateng was helped off the field on the hour with an apparent thigh injury and replaced by Shkodran Mustafi.
France bend but don't break
France made a promising start at the Stade Velodrome with Manuel Neuer making a fine save to deny Antoine Griezmann, but Germany quickly established their dominance. Thomas Mueller, who is now without a goal in 11 European Championship matches, stabbed a low cross wide and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris then flung himself to his right to claw away an Emre Can effort before tipping over from Bastian Schweinsteiger. The Germans controlled possession and had France pegged back, but crucially for Didier Deschamps' side they were able to keep the world champions at bay.
Griezmann spot on after Schweinsteiger handles
Griezmann fired France into the lead in the second minute of first-half stoppage time after Germany captain Schweinsteiger was penalised for a handball inside the box. Griezmann's driven corner picked out Patrice Evra whose header was blocked by the outstretched arm of Schweinsteiger. Referee Nicola Rizzoli took his time before pointing to the spot as the Germans contested the decision. Griezmann kept his cool to send Neuer the wrong way and move a step closer towards the Golden Boot.
Griezmann pounces on Pogba magic, Neuer error
Griezmann struck his second goal of the evening on 72 minutes after Germany carelessly surrendered possession inside their own area. Paul Pogba latched onto the loose ball, dancing round a defender before flighting over a cross that Neuer could only tip straight into the path of Griezmann. The Atletico Madrid striker poked the rebound through the legs of the Bayern Munich keeper for his tournament-leading sixth goal — leaving him three clear of Cristiano Ronaldo and the chasing pack.
Kimmich comes closest for Germany
Right-back Joshua Kimmich nearly pulled a goal back for Germany on two separate occasions. First, on 74 minutes, the Bayern Munich youngster shifted the ball onto his left foot on the edge of the area only to see his curling effort smack against the right-hand post with Lloris well beaten. The France captain then pulled off a brilliant reflex save in stoppage time at the end of the second half to keep out a Kimmich header.
Published Date: Jul 08, 2016 12:17 pm | Updated Date: Jul 08, 2016 12:17 pm