Saturday, June 16, 2018
Sports

France ousts world champion Germany

MARSEILLE, France — Antoine Griezmann scored twice as France beat world champion Germany 2-0 Thursday to line up a European Championship final against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.

Griezmann put France in front from the penalty spot in stoppage time at the end of the first half, then took full advantage of a German defensive blunder to score his second with a calm finish in the 72nd minute.

France reached its first final for a decade and is chasing its first major trophy since Euro 2000. Germany missed its chance to add the European title to the World Cup it won in 2014.

"I think there's a lot of happiness around France tonight," coach Didier Deschamps said.

Griezmann has scored six goals at Euro 2016 — twice as many as any other player at the tournament — and could have completed a hat trick on a break in the 86th but shot straight at goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

"We have to keep our feet on the ground," Griezmann said. "We still have a match to go."

Germany could have scored more than once as it dominated the first half. But it was denied by poor shooting from Thomas Mueller, who ended his tournament scoreless, and a save by Hugo Lloris to block Emre Can's bouncing shot.

France took the lead from the penalty spot after Bastian Schweinsteiger handled the ball in an aerial challenge with Patrice Evra.

Griezmann stepped up to score, striking the penalty hard to Neuer's right. "I really wanted to take a penalty in a big match like that. I was very composed, I didn't think twice," Griezmann said.

It was the second time in as many games that Germany had given away a spot-kick for handball. Jerome Boateng blocked the ball with an arm in the quarterfinals against Italy.

"It's just bad luck, just an unlucky action," Germany coach Joachim Loew said of the penalty. "In a challenge, when you're jumping, there are movements that you can't really control."

Trailing in a match for the first time in the tournament, Germany could not recover its previous dominance after halftime. It then had to cope with losing key defender Boateng, who picked up an ankle injury.

Loew insisted his club had played better than France but was denied by "bad luck," including the injuries and suspensions that hit four key players — Boateng, as well as defender Mats Hummels, midfielder Sami Khedira and forward Mario Gomez, with the latter three missing the game.

After locking up a spot in Sunday's final, France's players celebrated with their fans by performing the "Huh" chant made famous at the tournament by Iceland.

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