Today’s semi-final encounter saw two of Europe’s biggest powerhouses collide, as the hosts France took on the world champions, Germany. The winner of this huge tie would earn a place in the final of Euro 2016 against last night’s victors Portugal, giving them the opportunity to make history.
France started the game the brighter and looked much more awake than the Germans. Germany barely get a touch of the ball as France kept on constantly closing them down and putting them under immense pressure in the early stages. This led to France creating a golden opportunity as a nice little play from striker Antoine Griezmann put him through for a shot on goal, but the big man Manuel Neuer showed his class as he produced a crucial stage to prevent an early France goal.
The Germans slowly grew into the game and started to create some small chances for themselves and showed glimpses of the danger they possess. France were shown no time on the ball as Germany showed their energetic and hunger to win the ball back and take the lead. Both teams showed so much belief in the opening 40 minutes but neither side could muster up a clear opportunity on the other’s goal. The closest either side came to scoring was from France, as they had two free-kicks from identical positions but both come to nothing as Neuer caught calmly and cleared.
It seemed as though both teams would go into the break goalless but that was all changed as from a resulting corner the referee gave a penalty to the hosts for what he thought was a handball by Bastian Schweinsteiger. This caused controversy as many believed that the penalty was a harsh award and questioned whether the referee could even see the incident. Eventually, the tournament’s top scorer, Antoine Griezmann, stepped up to the plate and calmly slotted home to give France a 1-0 lead.
The second half started how the first played out as Germany showed how strong they truly are by dominating the game and pressing the French defence deep into their own area.
Around the hour mark, Germany’s injury-ravaged squad suffered another blow as centre-half Jerome Boateng suffered what looked like a pulled hamstring an injury which unfortunately led to him being substituted. This didn’t seem to disrupt Germany’s play and thought process as they carried on pushing forward and pressing to find that vital equaliser. The second half was a very straight forward half as Germany controlled the entirety of it but they just couldn’t break down a stubborn France defence.
It took until the 72nd minute for a goal to come and despite the domination from Germany, it was from the hosts France. It was crossed in by Paul Pogba and as Neuer came out to punch it away, he could only get a slight hand to it and it fell to the feet of Antoine Griezmann, who calmly rolled it in for his second of the match.
Despite the fight and pressure Germany tried to put onto France it wasn’t enough as the hosts ran out 2-0 winners thanks to the man inform Antoine Griezmann.