French forward Antoine Griezmann saved the day for Les Bleus scoring two second half goals in a come from behind win against Republic of Ireland 2-1.
The 25 year old becomes equal with Gareth Bale and Alvaro Morata as the top goalscorers at Euro 2016 so far with three goals.
“I know myself well,” Griezmann said. “I know that I show up in the big moments.”
It was a nightmare start for the hosts as Ireland were awarded a second minute penalty in the box. Thousands of fans were still getting to their seats as Robbie Brady sent Hugo Lloris to put the Irish up 1-0.
There was an overall feeling of shock at the ground and even the fan zone in Paris, as local fans couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
Two steps forward one step back:
In the spotlight once again was Paul Pogba, clumsily taking down Shane Long to concede the penalty. After a positive performance against the Swiss, it was the worst possible start for the rising superstar who has dealt with his fair share of media scrutiny by local French media.
THE HALFTIME REV UP
The French players took a long hard look at themselves at halftime, after struggling to deal with a disciplined Irish side that used the same tactic to defeat Italy.
French coach Didier Deschamps also spoke what went on in the dressing room at the break:
“Well I can raise my voice at half-time. We had to shake things up. Some of the players that were on the bench were also talking because I’ve really got a group here,” said Deschamps.
France’s equalizer came from one of their shortest players on the pitch, Antoine Griezmann. Midfield maestro Dimitri Payet’s orchestrated the goal once again, releasing full back Bacary Sagna on the right to cross a picture perfect ball onto the head of Griezmann.
“We said things in the coaching room, the coaches said things and the players said things,” said Griezmann.
It’s amazing how quickly things can turn in football and in a matter of minutes the game was turned on its head.
Griezmann only needed another three minutes to score again, and send Parc Olympique Lyonnais into hysteria.
Olivier Giroud was the real hero for France’s second goal, climbing over two Irish defenders in the box to head the ball across to a free Griezmann. The Atletico Madrid striker slotted a low driving ball past Irish goalkeeper Darren Randolph t0 send Les Bleus.
As the French continued to dominate possession deep in the second half, a struggling Irish side started to make sloppy mistakes.
A red card to Ireland’s Shane Duffy sealed the deal in The Green Army’s fall from grace.
France move onto the Quarter Finals, where they will play either England or Iceland at Stade de France on the 3rd of July.
Can the hosts go all the way?