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Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo showdown


Griezmann rose in status yesterday to France’s national hero with his immense performance against Germany, crowned with two goals. One, by serenely dispatching a penalty right before the break; the other, by taking advantage of a defensive fumble, after good work from Pogba, to squeeze it between the legs of Neuer. He goes into the final with six goals in the bag, twice that of Cristiano, which means he is almost guaranteed the Golden Boot. But, let’s not forget that other than the goals he played very well, as a role model for his team and a continuous concern for Germany. Superb.

Toni Kroos seeing that Antoine Griezmann doesn't only score goals.
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Toni Kroos seeing that Antoine Griezmann doesn't only score goals.Lars BaronGetty Images

He was, by far, the best in the French side, just as Müller was the worst for Germany, who still has failed to score at a European Championship and it’s no wonder. He is not in the best shape and in each game he seemed nervous and somewhat querulous. Germany controlled all areas of the field except the penalty areas. Their play was strong, elegant, with Kroos and Ozil pulling the strings in midfield, but didn’t produce sufficient attempts at goal until the final stages when the outcome had already been decided. They did, however, have a few attempts that came agonisingly close including one that hit the frame and another where Lloris made a huge save from a Kimmich header.

Hugo Lloris ironically not letting any onions into the net.
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Hugo Lloris ironically not letting any onions into the net.Christian HartmannREUTERS

Football is a game of moments. For all the effort put in or left out it is captured in just a few decisive instances. The most important yesterday was the absurd Schweinsteiger penalty, where the midfielder inexplicably put his hand between Evra’s head and the ball. This stupidity turned it for the French who, after being second best, were able to go into the changing room happy and with an advantage. The second most important moment, of course, was the deft touch, with the sole of his boot, from Griezmann reacting in an instant to the loose ball. Germany gave it away in their own area, something France didn’t do in theirs. (I should mention that I liked Umtiti). So France will go to the final, where Griezmann will challenge Cristiano.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal await
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Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal awaitChristian HartmannREUTERS