Griez lightning



June 27, 2016
Griez lightning

TOO VINNIG: Griezmann fouled. CREDIT: Sourced

Hitman Antoine sends French into quarters with a double in comeback win over Ireland

Antoine Griezmann struck twice in three minutes to send hosts France to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over Ireland.

Up until then Les Bleus were trailing the Irish in Lyon thanks to a first-minute penalty by Robbie Brady.

But the Atletico Madrid ace scored in the 58th minute and again in the 61st as the two-time champions of Europe continue their quest for a second title on home soil.

The Irish could not recover from that as they saw Shane Duffy sent off for bringing down the rampant Griezmann as he broke through the defence again two minutes later, leaving the men in green to play the final 27 minutes with 10 men.

The French, who celebrated their first knockout-stage win in the competition since winning Euro 2000, were stunned when Paul Pogba gave away a clumsy spot-kick and Brady converted it to score the tournament’s fastest goal.

Finding themselves behind for the first time in the tournament, the hosts seemed to lack the urgency to wrestle control of a stop-start first half.

Their best chances fell to Griezmann who headed over the bar from close range, while a late strike by Dimitri Payet whacked into the Irish defence who desperately guarded their goal.

At the other end, Ireland didn’t really threaten apart from a bouncing shot from striker Daryl Murphy that forced keeper Hugo Lloris to dive to his left.

Deschamps switched things up after the break, bringing on flying winger Kingsley Coman for holding midfielder N’Golo Kante and moving playmaker Pogba into the middle and Griezmann into a more central role behind strike partner Olivier Giroud.

The strategy paid off almost immediately as France stretched a tiring Ireland.

Griezmann equalised in the 58th minute from a Bacary Sagna cross, and then fired his team in front three minutes later when Giroud nodded the ball down into his path.

Another surging run from Griezmann saw him chopped down on the edge of the area by Duffy, earning the defender a red card as the game started to look beyond the Irish.

On a bum note, though, Kante and defender Adil Rami picked up yellow cards and will miss the quarter final through suspension.

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