Created on 07-07-2016 at 22:53 PM
Germany’s dream of claiming a fourth European Championship title evaporated in the heat of Marseille on Thursday night when the world champions fell 2-0 to hosts France in the EURO 2016 semi-final. Antoine Griezmann struck a penalty in first-half stoppage-time and added a 72nd-minute second to wrap it up for the Equipe Tricolore, for whom Kingsley Coman was an unused sub. Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, Jérôme Boateng and Thomas Müller started for the Germans with Mario Götze coming on as a 67th-minute sub. Mats Hummels missed the match with suspension.
Griezmann drew an excellent save from Neuer on seven minutes as the French started brightly, but Joachim Löw’s men soon gained the upper hand with chances for Müller, former FCB man Emre Can and ex-Bayern captain Schweinsteiger. The hosts struck back in the run-up to half-time through Griezmann and Olivier Giroud, before Griezmann opened the scoring from the spot following Schweinsteiger’s inadvertent handball in the box.
France made the better start to the second period, and although Germany dominated the possession chances were few and far between. The world champions suffered a setback on the hour when Boateng, who had opened up the play on several occasions with raking passes, was forced off with a thigh injury. Germany continued to press but the French were always dangerous on the break, with Griezmann doubling the advantage after a moment’s panic in the box in front of Neuer. Kimmich was unlucky to hit the outside of the post on 74 minutes and then see a stoppage-time header brilliantly saved by Hugo Loris as time ran out for Löw’s men.
The Germany coach’s selection of Can alongside Schweinsteiger in midfield was a minor surprise, with Hummels’ place going to Benedikt Höwedes, and Müller taking over from the injured Mario Gomez as the lone striker. Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps fielded the 4-2-3-1 formation that had seen off Iceland in the quarter-finals. FCB man Coman now faces his new club team-mate Renato Sanches of Portugal in Sunday’s final at 21.00 CET in St. Denis, Paris.