Antoine Griezmann, one of the outstanding players of the past season, scored both goals to set up a final clash with Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal team at Stade de France on Sunday.
For France, a nation which has endured a turbulent year in the wake of the Paris attacks, much of the focus has been on events off the field of play.
But on a night of high tension it was the country’s footballers who did it proud, producing a battling performance to see off a German side which had knocked it out of the World Cup two years ago. Photo: Griezmann, left, and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
For France, which won the Euros on home soil in 1984 and the World Cup in 1998, this represents another opportunity to secure sporting immortality.
It was a hard-fought victory for a French team which had approached this tie with a certain amount of trepidation given the reputation of its opponent.
Crashing the party
No team in the history of international football has crashed more parties than Germany — just ask the six host nations it has kicked out of tournaments at the semifinal stage.
Few will forget the excruciating beating it gave Brazil at the World Cup two years ago — a 7-1 thrashing which left not only the players but an entire country decimated, and another jubilant as Germany later lifted the trophy.
In the semi, Germany led by five goals with just 29 minutes on the clock — it was not just a run-of-the-mill defeat but a national humiliation.
Others have been dealt with in rather gentler fashion, though their sentences were no less unforgiving.
In 2002, South Korea was dumped out of the World Cup it was co-hosting with Japan, as Michael Ballack’s goal took Germany into a final clash with Brazil.
Euro ’96 host England was made to suffer — beaten on penalties before Germany won the final days later at Wembley.
Four years earlier, Germany ousted host Sweden but lost the final to Denmark.
In 1976, Yugoslavia was vanquished as Dieter Muller scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 win to lead his team into the European Championship final, where Germany was beaten on penalties — its only shootout defeat — by Czechoslovakia.
In 1972, Germany beat Belgium in the last four, then defeated the Soviet Union 2-0 in the final.
The only time Germany faltered in the semis against the host nation was way back in 1958, when Sweden claimed a 3-1 win at the World Cup.
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