Les Blues conquer Die Mannschaft
Posted by John Smith | Published on July 8, 2016
Last night saw arguably the biggest game of the tournament (minus the finale) and also the second semi-final game of the competition saw hosts France take on World Cup winners Germany in a thrilling game. After 58 long years of failing to defeat Germany, France won the match in emphatic fashion to book their place in the final of the competition against Portugal on the 10th of June.
Antoine Griezmann was arguably the shining star across the entire match, scoring both goals which ultimately secured the win for Les Bleus. However not all looked promising for the hosts; Deschamps starting lineup shocked many as N’Golo Kante was unsuccessful in regaining his place in the team, with Mohamed Sissoko being named in the lineup instead.
Joachim Low also made some surprise additions to his side. Mario Gomez was not able to play for his country as a hamstring injury in the quarter-final win against Italy ruled him out for the rest of the competition. Bastian Schweinsteiger was handed an unusal start, with Emre Can being selected to add bursts of energy to his sides midfield.
The game opened up in emphatic fashion with the hosts controlling the game for a majority of the start. The build up of the game was intriguing to watch as France missed out on a few chances to take the lead early on – most particularly from Antoine Griezmann after two minutes and a corner soon after.
However, after France’s bright start to the game, it slowly began to deteriorate as they lost the ball countless times with the Germans dominating the attack as well as the possession of the game. Whilst controlling, they slowed the entirety of the game whilst trying to take the lead for themselves. Thomas Muller had a good chance after 10 minutes but put the ball wide. A few minutes later, another chance led to nothing as Lloris met Emre Can’s strike and kept the game level.
Die Meinschaft tried to control the game further, bringing more players into the French half to assist their attacking style against the hosts. Germany dominated the entire possession with commentator Steve Wilson even admitting the fact that “France have barely smelt the ball in the last five minutes”. The absence of N’Golo Kante was surely felt by the hosts as the defence looked shaky and was in need of more defensive support – something that Kante brings to the side.
Despite this, they kept their nerve and pressed against the German’s attacks, keeping the score level. The half was looking very likely to end 0-0, with the Germans being spot on tactically. However, a late corner for France led to a penalty, due to a handball by midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. Griezmann stepped up to take the penalty, and sent Neuer the other way to gift his side the lead, daming the German’s morale in the process.
As the second half kicked off, it remained evident that the Germans would not sit back and accept defeat, they followed the same tactics used in the first half to wear down France with their controlling possession. Consequently, Olivier Giroud was given a golden chance to extend the lead for his nation, but his lack of pace gifted Boateng with the opportunity to make the tackle to see out his chance.
Nevertheless, their attempts at neutralising the game looked more and more unlikely, as France used their essence of pace to breach the controlling tactics used by the German side. Kante made his appearance later into the game, giving Les Blues further defensive support against the attacking German team.
Following the introduction of Kante, France looked more solid in containing Germany as they secured a second goal a minute later. Pogba layed the ball off to Joshua Kimmich, who crossed it into Antoine Griezmann who successfully scored his second goal of the game, securing the win for his country.
Regardless of the scoreline, the Germans never gave up and continued to press on in the attempt of surpring the hosts. Chances by Draxler and Mustafi after the France goal followed, but neither was good enough to challenge Lloris in goal. The last major attack in the game also came from the Germans minutes before the end of the game, Toni Kroos made a successful cross to Gotze, but his header just missed the goal.
As the referee blew his whistle, it was evident that France had finally done it. After a long wait of 58 years, they finally beat Germany in an major competition, and cemented their place in the final against hopefuls Portugal.
France: Lloris 8, Sagna 6, Koscielny 7, Umtiti 7, Evra 7, Pogba 8, Matuidi 6, Sissoko 7, Griezmann 9, Payet 6, Giroud 6
Germany: Neuer 7, Kimmich 7, Boateng 6, Howedes 6, Hector 7, Can 6, Schweinsteiger 7, Ozil 6, Kroos 6, Draxler 6, Muller 6
France: Kante 6 (71′ for Payet), Gignac N/A (78′ for Giroud)
Germany: Mustafi 5 (61′ for Boateng), Gotze 6 (67′ for Can), Sane N/A (79′ for Schweinsteiger)