France reaches Euro final behind Griezmann brace


Les Bleus weren’t the most convincing side when Euro 2016 kicked off in June, however, France has consistently improved with every match, and will now have a chance to earn its third European Championship.

Antoine Griezmann’s brace gave France a 2-0 win against Germany on Thursday afternoon. The hosts will move on to face Portugal in the final on July 10.

France took the lead on the stroke of halftime when Griezmann netted his first of the afternoon from the penalty spot. Bastian Schweinsteiger was the guilty party for the Germans, as the Manchester United midfielder was caught with his hand above his head when the ball was headed towards goal in the 45th minute.

Griezmann then added a second goal in the 72nd minute, the Atletico Madrid striker’s sixth goal of the tournament, after Germany failed to clear its line.

Without a cast of key starters for Germany, the French nearly took advantage after seven minutes when Griezmann hit a strong effort from the center of the box. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was up for the task though, and kept the tournament’s leading goalscorer of the board.

The Germans controlled the game for long spells, particularly down the stretch, but the French backline held up strong at the most critical junctures. Joshua Kimmich’s chance in the 74th minute that struck the post highlighted a difficult afternoon for the Germany attack.

Kimmich nearly pulled a goal back in second-half stoppage time when the attacker’s header was acrobatically saved by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. The Tottenham shot stopper, who has been steady all tournament, came up with four saves in the match.


Antoine Griezmann saved France during key moments of Group A play, and the Atletico Madrid attacker continued his brilliance for Les Bleus against Germany.


The Germans controlled much of the attack in the opening 45 minutes, but Griezmann’s finish from the penalty spot on the stroke of halftime gave France a critical advantage.


Thomas Muller and Germany’s attack simply couldn’t break down the French backline despite boasting several of the game’s best chances.

  • danny kissinger

    Questionable penalty. Yes, his hands were up, but they were adjacent o his body and he was being bumped at the time of contact. If it’s borderline call, then the ref’s don’t usually call it. Was the fix in?


    • Two Cents

      I think it was a debatable call, where either way I can see it being “correct”. He was attempting to put a hand on Evra, just like any other defender would. He then went to head the ball using his arm as leverage. Again, just like any player does (which is the reason why so many elbows and hands hit players in the head when competing for a header). However, in this incident, his hand made contact after Evra headed down towards goal. I certainly get why the penalty was called, but all the commentators and studio analysts were so fervent that it was a penalty, where I thought it could have gone either way. After all, only Giroud made a claim for it to be a handball, everyone else just kept playing.

      But, that wasn’t why Germany lost. They simply couldn’t hit the back of the net with all the possession they had and Muller was just awful again. I would have put Goetze in for him much earlier, then maybe Schurrle for Can. Their style of play never changed, so any goal by France, regardless of how, would have won the game. Even if you take out the penalty, France still wins through Griezmann. At least, that’s how I saw it. *Note, Boateng leaving due to injury didn’t help the German team, that’s for sure.

      By the way, I really am hoping that Pulisic can become the Griezmann for the USMNT, in addition to his club team of course. I feel like they have very similar strengths. One can only hope.


  • swy19

    So I have already solved the problem of penalty shootouts. I will now solve this.

    Sure, the penalty there could go either way, the way it is currently called. But the way it’s currently called is the issue. Much like the 50 yard pass interference play in the NFL, the punishment for the “crime” is much too extreme. Germany was the better team overall, and if this goes into the second half 0-0 (the way it should have been), who knows what happens. I think Germany would probably win it.

    A penalty kick should only be given in a completely blatant, obvious, intended hand ball. These are infrequent. Nobody can tell me with a straight face that BS meant to use his hand. Why then, effectively give France a goal? They did nothing to deserve it.

    In these situations, if the ref wants to call a hand ball, the penalty should be a 22-25 yard free kick from outside the 18. Make the other team earn the goal.

    Of course, I can’t wait to hear everyone scream “noooo, this isn’t how soccer is played”!!! Well it should be. And to hear nobody on the telecast, either during the game or after, question this. Darke saying it’s an unnatural position, like he is an expert at how men jump late and sidways, and where there hands should be in such a leap.

    I think it’s such a ridiculous way to effectively decide a game. That hand ball did not stop what would have been a definite goal (and likely, would not have been). So why then give them a 75-90% chance at scoring for it? Sure, cuz that’s the way it’s always been!


    • Concorde

      No one in France right now is too upset about this call , judging from the car horns I hear outside, and the Germans won’t be upset either because they couldn’t score. Tough s*** . Allez les bleus!


    • Rob

      And yet, somehow, football manages to become the most popular sport in the planet.
      Go figure.


      • swy19

        Cogent, coherent, logical, expected responses. Cheers!


    • beachbum

      shots taken; Germany 17, France 15
      shots on goal: Germany 6, France 7

      France did EXACTLY what they wanted to in this one, frustrated the crap out of the Germans, ceded meaningless possession all game, battled hard in their defensive third, looked to spring the counter with excellent counter attacking players, won. All that possession but less shots on goal, and 2 less goals for the Germans.


      • beachbum

        hey swy19, this was not supposed to be a reply to your post


    • Gary Page

      I think that if it is an inadvertant handball then the PK should be given only if the ball was going to be on goal since you can’t assume a GK would make the save. Also, whenever a player is brought down in the box and a PK called, it is the player who is fouled who must take the PK. In basketball, if a player is fouled while shooting you don’t get to choose your best foul shooter to shoot free throws. Likewise, let the person fouled have to take the PK. Besides, he is the one who earns it anyway and should have the chance to score.


    • David

      I like the idea, but it would be real hard to implement. Which edge cases do you call PKs on? A closing-down defender with his arms out? If Evra doesn’t head it, but Schweinsteiger misses and it lands on his arm? (blanking on the game but that happened in one I was watching recently). If you only give the free kick, you encourage defenders to subtly use their arms to make themselves bigger and you’ll only get more.

      My other point would be that soccer is a game of sometimes-unlucky goals. A ball being deflected into someone’s outstretched arm isn’t that different from a ball being deflected off a defender’s leg into the net.


Add your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More from SBI Soccer