We kicked off today’s Euro fixtures with a fiery tie between the hosts France and the hugely passionate Ireland! Not many people backed Ireland to put up a good showing in this game, but with their faithful fans behind them, anything could have happened today.
It certainly didn’t take long for the game to kick-off as IRELAND gained themselves a penalty in just over a minute! The ball fell to Shane Long inside the box and just before the forward could strike the ball, normally reliable, Paul Pogba came from behind and took him out. Robbie Brady, the man who got Ireland to this game, stepped up bravely to put the ball into the back of the net early on, after his shot deflected off the post.
France desperately tried to make up for their woeful start by pushing high up the field and trying to show what they can really do. Around the 8th minute mark James McCarthy handled the ball on the edge of his sides box which led to a dangerous free-kick. Surely, you would have had your money on Dimitri Payet to score from such a good distance, but unfortunately for the French the free-kick was stuck straight towards the hands of Darren Randolph who made sure the danger was gone. France were certainly trying to test Ireland’s mentality to hold the lead as they took control of the game since they goal and had many attempts at the Irish goal, which all were calmly collected by the keeper as no shots seemed to pose any real threat.
The game itself was fairly tense, but that was ruined and the urgency of the game was slowed down as fouls and yellow cards were thrown about all over the place, and players suffered knocks meaning multiple halts in play. Ireland did stand tall and strong when needed though, and that was put into play massively as just before halftime Payet and Griezmann caused absolute mayhem for the Irish defence who showed some heroic defending to prevent France finding that equaliser. Ireland then went into the break with their heads held high whilst leading the game
The second half commenced and just before it kicked off France made a substitution in the form of Kingsley Coman for N’Golo Kante, which certainly showed their intent to attack more and be more positive and rightly so as going out at such an early stage would not go down well with their fans.
This substitution showed a much more attacking French side, but just like in the first half, Ireland sat back and held their own, preventing and French attacks breaking through for the equaliser. Ireland on the other hand shown some attacking danger of their own as they had a tactic of countering France whenever the opportunity arose. You couldn’t help but think that a goal was imminent, no matter which way it went.
That goal didn’t take too long as in the 58th minute France scored a lovely goal to level the game up as the ball was crossed in from the right hand side by Bacary Sagna crossed in a lovely ball and Antoine Griezmann was there to nab his second goal of the tournament!
Only a few moments later France then took the lead as the ball was nodded down to Antoine Griezmann who ran through for the easiest of goals as he slotted home calmly into the bottom corner of the goal!
As if it couldn’t get any worse for the Irish, defender Shane Duffy was sent off for taking out Antoine Griezmann who was one-on-one with Randolph for his hat-trick. Unfortunately for the French the resulting free-kick was poor after hitting the back of Giroud and the danger was averted for a goal kick. France showed their strength and power by carrying on the domination of Ireland this half and they almost scored a third to seal it, as substitute Gignac curled the ball from the corner of the box and struck the cross bar!
Ireland fought their hearts out but unfortunately for them, their early goal was not enough to sink French hearts as Antoine Greizmann’s two goals sealed a 2-1 comeback for France and sent them into the Quarter Finals where they will face either England or Iceland.