Both France and Germany would come out to start this match with pace, both wanting to set the tone.
If anything, Germany needed to slow it down a bit and play their game without getting caught up in what France was doing. They needed to settle down and play their games - it should workout from there, right?
Around the 30th minute, Germany's light flicked on.
They started by pressing high and getting the fullbacks forward. They would get their first opportunity on a cross that Muller just couldn’t quite get a toe on to poke it past Hugo Lloris. Both goalkeepers would have to come up big for their sides early and often in the opening minutes. Germany would keep most of the possession towards the end of the half, keeping the French pinned in their own end.
The French looked as though tournament legs were starting to catch up to them, slowing them down a notch or two. They would show some life late in the first half with Patrice Evra getting forward and hitting a nice slide pass to Antoine Greizmann who buried it into the side netting. Germany’s defense would come up big in the 43rd when Howedes made a huge tackle on Giroud who seemed to be running in quicksand.
France would finally get on the board against the run of play. Bastian Schweinsteiger would get hit on the hand with the ball defending a corner. Seriously, jumping with your arms up like that is just asking for trouble.
That earned him a yellow, and earned France a penalty kick. Antoine Greizmann would step up to the spot and put it past Neuer to put France up 1-0 going into half time.
Germany may have dominated the half by putting on a clinic, but the scoreline told a different story.
I’m not sure what Didier Deschamps said to his club at the half, but whatever it was, it worked. The fullbacks had a bit more freedom going forward, and Payet had stopped being so narrow and was able to be more effective on the counter.
Germany would lose Jérôme Boateng to injury in the 60th minute forcing the use of a sub. Just a scant twelve minutes later Antoine Griezmann would score his second goal of the night - poking it past Neuer (through the 5 hole no less) who came off his line, putting France in the drivers seat with a 2-0 lead. It would be Griezmann’s sixth goal of the Euros and is most likely going to win the Golden Boot Award.
Germany would knock on the door late in the match, but like most of the night they just couldn’t crack the code to France’s defense. It would end 2-0, with France headed to a finals date with Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.
Look up consistent in the dictionary, and you'd see Toni Kroos smiling back at you. By far the most consistent player on the team and in the tournament. I dubbed it "Kroos being Kroos" because that’s what he was tonight. As the tournament has gone on, I’ve developed a very big man crush on Kroos. He comes out each and every game and puts in solid performances. He's a beast, what's not to like?
He had the most touches on the team, again. The only one that was close was Ozil who had 99. All night the ball would come from or to Kroos, the offense flowed though him when the Germans were on the attack. He's just so calm and composed on and off the ball. He’s as in form as I’ve ever seen him and I hope this carry’s over to the upcoming season. In form Kroos, is a badass Kroos.
He was and is a passing beast. He was right around 90% for the night, which is just another day at the office.
He was even 5 of 6 in Take On’s.
Towards the end of the night, he was really trying to make things happen. Germany knocked on the door but Hugo Lloris wouldn’t open it.
Player Rating: 8.0
Germany’s run ends here, a semi-final defeat to France.
Things I Learned
Alain Giresse was the last French player to score against Germany at a major finals tournament; coming in the 1982 World Cup semi-final. Antoine Griezmann changed that with two goals tonight.
Germany have reached the semi-finals in each of their last six major tournaments (WC 2006, EURO 2008, WC 2010, EURO 2012, WC 2014, EURO 2016), the longest ever run for a European team. However, they last won the European Championships 20 years ago, in 1996, their longest ever drought in the history of the competition.
Germany's possession in the EURO 2016 group stages averaged 72%. It has dropped to 61% in the knockout phase.
France are in the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 2006 World Cup. They have actually progressed to the final on the last three occasions where they have made the last four, with their last failure at the semi-final stage dating back to EURO 1996 against the Czech Republic.