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Published: 21:14 | 7/7/16

France through to Euro 2016 final

Hosts beat Germany in Marseille semi-final

Antoine Griezmann netted both goals, as France beat Germany 2-0 in Marseille to set up a Euro 2016 final date with Portugal in Paris on Sunday.

France, a nation bruised and uncertain ahead of the tournament following last year's terrorist attacks on Paris, now have the joy and optimism of a final on home soil to celebrate.

And it is fitting that Griezmann is the man who led them there.

The 25-year-old was on the pitch at the Stade de France that November night, while his sister Maud was a survivor of the Bataclan nightclub attack.

And, as he walked off the Stade Velodrome pitch in injury-time following another stunning all-round performance, his position as a symbol of the new France was confirmed with a standing ovation from the home supporters.

The Atletico Madrid playmaker was an impish presence from the opening whistle, forcing a good save from Manuel Neuer in the seventh minute following a bright opening spell for France, but Germany began to dominate the midfield as the match settled down.

France coach Didier Deschamps opted for the same starting eleven that thrashed Iceland in the quarter-finals, so there was no place at the base of the midfield for N'Golo Kante.

The decision seemed an odd one, as Blaise Matuidi and Paul Pogba both look more comfortable with Kante behind them, and German midfielders Emre Can and Bastian Schweinsteiger soon began to take control in the centre of the park.

But, despite all the German pressure, it was the hosts who took the lead in first-half injury time as Griezmann blasted home a penalty after Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli blew up for a Schweinsteiger handball following a Patrice Evra header from a corner.

And, after a tactical tweak from Deschamps at half-time, France's midfield finally got the measure of Die Mannschaft in the second half.

Germany began to look sloppy as Pogba and Griezmann started pulling the strings in the gap between midfield and striker Olivier Giroud, and it was the Atletico star that killed the match with his second of the night on 71 minutes.

Pogba took advantage of a Joshua Kimmich error down the right, and Neuer punched his scooped cross straight at Griezmann, who had the presence of mind to stab a first-time shot into the unguarded net.

It was his sixth goal of Euro 2016, twice as many as another player and the most goals scored by one player at the Euros since Michel Platini (9) in 1984.

The world champions roared back, with Kimmich and Julian Draxler going close and Thomas Muller forcing a brilliant late save from Hugo Lloris, but this was France's night, and, if tonight is a guide, maybe France's tournament.

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