Antoine Griezmann fires France into Euro 2016 final

Atletico Madrid star scores twice against a Germany who just 'didn't have the luck we needed'

Blaise Matuidi salutes Antoine Griezmann after the game
(Image credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

France 2 Germany 0.

Antoine Griezmann was once more the hero for France, blasting into the back of the net to help his team become the first host nation to twice reach a European Championship final.

Les Bleus did it previously in 1984, when Michel Platini inspired them to victory over Spain. Now Griezmann must carry the weight of a nation's expectation.

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Not that the 25-year-old striker is showing any sign of pressure. His two goals in Marseille on Thursday takes his Euro 2016 tally to six, an impressive haul, although three short of the nine Platini scored 32 years ago.

However, Griezmann will have the chance to add to his scorecard on Sunday, when France play Portugal in Paris, an occasion that will have the country gripped.

It's been a traumatic 18 months for the hosts, which has been hit with terrorism attacks, severe floods and a series of bitter industrial disputes, so football has provided a welcome distraction.

"I'm very pleased," said Griezmann. "We knew it would be very tough and we held firm defensively. Our keeper played very well.

"We have to rest up well and already start thinking about the final," he added. "Against Portugal, it's 50-50. Anything can happen in a final. It's a one-off game."

Griezmann plays his club football for Atletico Madrid, so he's well aware of the threat posed by Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid goal machine who carries the hope of Portugal.

But the French striker didn't wish to get into a discussion about Ronaldo's talents on Thursday night - and nor did he have much time for the inevitable media comparisons to Platini, says SkySports.

"I am happy with the goals but I am still a long way from Platini," he said. "I hope one day I can get closer to it [the record]."

France went into the semi-final without a win over Germany at a major tournament since 1958 and the Germans were the stronger a cagey first-half.

But their customary clinical finishing was missing and Griezmann scored the opening goal on the stroke of half-time, via a controversial penalty awarded for handball by Bastian Schweinsteiger as he challenged Patrice Evra.

Griezmann, who missed a penalty for Atletico Madrid in their Champions League defeat to Real Madrid in May, made no mistake. "I wanted to take a penalty again in an important moment and I'm happy I did, and happy I scored," he said.

His second came on 72 minutes, when Paul Pogba's deft cross was flapped into his path by German keeper Manuel Neuer.

Germany came close to finding goal on several occasions in the final quarter, but Joshua Kimmich hit the woodwork with one effort and then saw French keeper Hugo Lloris pull off a stunning save at point-blank range.

"In 2012 or 2010 when we went out, the other sides were better than us," said Germany manager Joachim Low. "Today that wasn't the case. We were better than the French.

"We had our chances. Regretfully we didn't score. We didn't have the luck we needed."