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Griezmann brace sends France through to Euro 2016 Final

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A goal in either half from forward Antoine Griezmann sent hosts France through to the final of Euro 2016 courtesy of a hard earned 2-0 win over World Champions Germany, who played the prettier football but lacked a quality marksman who could provide a finishing touch to their fantastic approach play.

Germany, missing three regular starters due to injury, chose to deploy Thomas Muller to lead their line, dropping playmaker Mesut Ozil out onto the right wing and Julian Draxler onto the left. Bastian Schweinsteiger replaced Sami Khedira in the heart of midfield, while Emre Can dropped in alongside him for his first start of the tournament too.

France were meanwhile unchanged from the team that put 5 goals past Iceland in the quarter-finals with N'Golo Kante and Adil Rami left on the bench.

France started the match brightly, earning the first opportunity of the game with Manuel Neuer producing an excellent save down to his left to keep out Griezmann's right footed drive, an effort which lacked the power of his stronger left.

What followed over the next 40 odd minutes though was wave after wave of German domination, with the world champions taking the game by the scruff of the neck and playing virtually the rest of the period in the French half. Despite their possession and control of the game, Germany didn't create as many clear cut opportunities as they would have liked despite Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil running the show.

Instead, France got men behind the ball and limited the Germans to half chances, with Thomas Muller on the stretch putting an effort wide, while Hugo Lloris was called into action to tip a shot from distance from Bastian Schweinsteiger over the bar and keep out a rasping drive from Liverpool's Emre Can.

Germany for large periods looked a touch away from getting on the scoresheet, but instead it was France who took a lead into the break.

A poor outstretched arm from Schweinsteiger, the German captain, while defending a late (and rather unnecessary) corner gifted France a penalty, and Griezmann made no mistake from the spot to put France 1-0 ahead.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first with France fashioning some early half-chances, and though Germany bossed possession once again, they struggled to create clear cut openings.

Another defensive error from Germany as they conceded possession in their own penalty area gave France the opportunity to grab a second goal, and after Paul Pogba showed some terrific skill to ditch substitute Shkodran Mustafi, Giroud put enough pressure on Neuer to get him to make a poor clearance, allowing an alert Griezmann to squeeze the ball into an open net to make it 2-0 for the hosts.

Germany were still in the contest with Joshua Kimmich hitting the woodwork with a left-footed curler from distance, while Benedikt Howedes glanced his header onto the roof of the net.

Germany had a couple of late chances in injury time to grab a consolation with Lloris doing brilliantly to deny Kimmich, while Mario Gotze then followed up putting his header wide.

It was an incredible win for France, who had been under the cosh for large periods with Germany left wondering no doubt how they lost a game they dominated completely.

Up next for France is a trip to Paris where Portugal await.

Teams:

Germany: Neuer, Kimmich, Boateng (Mustafi 61'), Howedes, Hector, Can (Gotze 67'), Schweinsteiger (Sane 79'), Ozil, Kroos, Draxler, Muller.

Subs: Leno, Mustafi, Khedira, Schurrle, Podolski, Weigl, Tah, Gotze, Sane, Gomez, ter Stegen.

France: Lloris, Sagna, Koscielny, Umtiti, Evra, Pogba, Matuidi, Sissoko, Griezmann (Cabaye 90+1'), Payet (Kante 71'), Giroud (Gignac 78').

Subs: Mandanda, Jallet, Rami, Kante, Cabaye, Gignac, Martial, Schneiderlin, Mangala, Digne, Coman, Costil.

Final Score: Germany 0-2 France (Griezmann 45+2', 72')