Marseille: France’s star of Euro 2016 Antoine Griezmann exorcised some of his Champions League demons with the penalty which put his side on the way to an appearance in the final against Portugal. The Atletico Madrid forward missed in the shoot-out as City rivals Real won an 11th European Cup in May.
French striker Antoine Griezmann takes a bow after the team’s 2-0 win over Germany in the Euro 2016 semi-final on Thursday. Pics/Getty Images
However, he nervelessly stepped up to score from the spot after Bastian Schweinsteiger had been penalised for handball in first-half added time. His second of the game 20 minutes from time, when he capitalised on an error from goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, took him to six for the tournament, with only the great Frenchman Michel Platini (nine) having scored more at a single European Championship.
45th minute: France’s Antoine Griezmann scores the opening goal against Germany from the penalty spot
“I really wanted to take a penalty in another important match,” said Griezmann in his post-match interview.
“I’m pleased to have taken that decision and to have scored. For the second goal I was just lurking to see if there was a mistake from the goalkeeper, it dropped to my feet and I was delighted.
72nd minute: Griezmann (centre) taps in past German ’keeper Manuel Neuer (right) to make it 2-0
“It was a team effort from everyone at Clairefontaine (France’s national football centre) — I’m delighted for them all. We can start dreaming of July 10 (and a final against Portugal).
“We have to keep our feet on the ground, there’s still a match to go; both before and during the game it was great with our fans — let’s hope we can relive that in the final.”
France coach Didier Deschamps is already thinking about how best to prepare for that encounter.
And he expects home advantage to play a significant part come Sunday.
“We have three days before the final, it’s very short. so we have to savour this victory,” he said.
“It’s an important step forward, but the most important step is Sunday. We’re going to do everything in our power to go in to Sunday’s game in the best possible condition.
“We had to suffer but never gave up and that's great for me. This is a great story — the players wrote history by knocking out Germany. We don’t have the power to solve people’s problems but we can generate emotions, so they forget their worries. We generate passion and fervour, we can see that.”