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How Griezmann expelled Germans from Euro 2016 chase

As Antoine Griezmann’s excellence expelled Germany from Euro 2016 and sent France into Sunday’s final, the pain for Joachim Low might have been deepened by the realisation that the deadly forward, now runaway top scorer at the tournament with six goals, is the embodiment of the element Germany fatally lacked in France. Griezmann is everything that Germany are not, even if he does have a Germanic surname.
If Low’s highly coached and polished team represent the triumph of the academy system, Griezmann is a player who was nearly ignored by youth football completely, suffering numerous rejections in France due to his size before his remarkable ascent to the top of the European game was kickstarted at Real Sociedad. In Marseille, whereas Germany, without a fit centre-forward, were unable to convert the numerous chances they created, Griezmann again supplied the cutting edge for France, simultaneously ending Germany’s brief reign at the top of football with a devastating performance.
Griezmann World Cup winners two years ago, the fragility of true greatness was laid bare as the chance to emulate the German team of 1972 and 1974, the France team of 1998 and 2000 and the Spain team of 2008, 2010 and 2012 evaporated. With Spain in transition, Italy lacking absolute quality, Belgium being managed by Marc Wilmots and England being England, it was probably only France who could have stopped Germany. And stop them they did, thanks to Griezmann. There was to be no international double, not after a prolonged spell of German dominance was broken when Bastian Schweinsteiger committed a handball right on the brink of half-time and Griezmann slotted home from the spot. It was the singular most important moment of the match, transforming its complexion.

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