France have found a new hero in Antoine Griezmann and the striker has his eyes firmly set on lifting the Euro 2016 trophy after his two goals fired Les Bleus past Germany on Thursday and into the final.
Griezmann slammed home a first-half penalty, following a needless handball from Bastian Schweinsteiger, and then poked in the second after the break to secure the host nation’s first competitive win over Germany in 58 years.
The Atletico Madrid marksman tops the Euro 2016 scorers table with six goals but is now focused on getting his hands on the cup when they play Portugal in Paris on Sunday.
“This is the result of a group, and of a lot of hard work from the staff,” he said. “Now we’re in the final and we want to lift that trophy.
“We are very happy but there is still one match left. We have to keep our feet on the ground and from tomorrow, let’s prepare for this final.”
France are seeking their first European title since beating Italy in the final in 2000, their last major tournament success.
Thierry Henry, their former striker and a veteran of that team, said Griezmann had given the country reason to dream again with his superb performances at Euro 2016.
“I’m actually so emotional,” Henry said. “The main man Antoine Griezmann, we all knew he had to play this kind of game. We again have a hero, a striker who can make us win tournaments.”
Germany dominated possession and spent most of the match in their opponent’s half but could not break through a resilient France defence.
Home coach Didier Deschamps denied it was a smash-and-grab victory.
“This is for the players, who deserve it. We played the best team in the world and we knocked them out. Yes, we suffered, but we never gave up,” he said.
“I always trusted my players. This is their reward, their victory.”
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who made a mistake when he failed to gather a cross in the build-up to the second goal, said they did not deserve to lose 2-0.
“I don’t want to say we were the better team but 2-0 isn’t a fair result,” he said.
“We played a really good European Championship but it’s very bitter to get eliminated now.”
Germany midfielder Toni Kroos also felt the result was not a fair reflection on the game.
“We played our best match tonight at the Euros but it didn’t help,” he said.
“It’s bitter…we clearly dominated France, then we fell behind because of a silly mistake with the handball.”