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Euro 2016: Griezmann saves France blushes, World Champs Germany in cruise control as Red Devils of Belgium too hot to handle

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Euro 2016: Griezmann saves France blushes, World Champs Germany in cruise control as Red Devils of Belgium too hot to handle

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  • France 2-1 Ireland
  • Griezmann hits twice in three second-half minutes
  • Germany 3-0 Slovakia
  • Boeteng, Gomez and Draxler score for World Champions
  • Hungary 0-4 Belgium
  • Alderweireld, Batshuayi, Hazard and Carrasco on target

Antoine Griezmann prevented a national crisis in France after he scored twice to help ‘Les Bleus’ come from a goal down to beat Ireland 2-1 and progress to the quarter-finals of their own Euro 2016.

Ireland’s Robbie Brady scored the quickest goal of this edition of the Euros from the penalty spot after two minutes.

A much better France turned out for the second half which saw Griezmann strike twice in three minutes for the win.

First-half frustration for France

The game got off to a surprising start when Ireland, who were playing in their first knockout stage at the European championships, went ahead from the spot.

One minute into the match Paul Pogba clumsily brought down Shane Long in the box to concede a penalty. A minute later Brady stepped up and fired past Hugo Lloris, onto the post and in.

It was Brady’s second goal of the tournament – his first was the winner in his side’s shock 1-0 victory in their final group game against Italy.

Ireland continued to frustrate the shaken French and had a couple of chances to extend their lead, but the tournament hosts held on until a well-needed half-time.

After the break and probably a hair-drying speech from coach Didier Deschamps, France came out a better side.

They upped their game and deservedly levelled through Griezmann on 58 minutes. Bacary Sagna delivered a delightful cross right onto the penalty spot where Griezmann was waiting to plant his past an diving Darren Randolph.

Ireland were rattled and France continued to take advantage.

Deschamps’ men were in the lead three minutes later and Griezmann was the man to do it.

Connecting with a long ball down field, Olivier Giroud took out two defenders to head down to the Atlético Madrid forward who hammered his shot past Randolph from 10 yards out.

Things went from bad to worse for Martin O’Neils Ireland as on the 66th minute they were reduced to ten men.

A desperate sliding tackle from Shane Duffy on Griezmann was enough to convince Italian Referee Nicola Rizzoli to whip out the red card.

The writing was now clearly on the wall.

France were an altogether different team in the second half and boosted by their numerical advantage were all over Ireland, who increasingly looked unable to back up their stunning win over Italy in the final group game with another upset.

Despite a couple of fine chances for André-Pierre Gignac to kill the game early, France didn’t add to their lead, but it didn’t matter as the tournament hosts welcomed the final whistle with mass celebrations and a major sigh of relief.

Three things to know

  • France are unbeaten in their last six games against the Republic of Ireland (W3, D3).
  • France’s are now unbeaten in their last 16 games at major tournaments on home soil, winning 14 and drawing two.
  • In the quarters, France will meet either England or Iceland, who play on Monday in Nice

World Champions Germany cruise past Slovakia

World Champions Germany secured safe passage into their ninth European championship quarter-final after brushing aside a lacklustre Slovakia x-x in Lille.

After sixty-three caps for his country Jerome Boateng finally scored his first goal. Toni Kroos’ corner was headed out to the Bayern Munich man, who volley in from 25 yards out, with a little help from a minor deflection, on eight minutes.

Mesut Ozil missed a 13th minute penalty but the second deservedly came two minutes before the break through Mario Gomez.

Julian Draxler went from provider of the second to goal scorer of the third on 63 minutes thumping home a fine volley from six yards out to effectively put the game to bed as Germany cruised into the last eight of the competition.

The win has set up a quarter-final clash with either two-time defending champions Spain or Italy, who play at the Stade de France on Monday in a repeat of the 2012 final.

Three things to know

  • The last time Germany won a Euro finals game by more than two goals was 3-0 against Russia on 16 June 1996.
  • Bastian Schweinsteiger played his 36th major tournament game – only Miroslav Klose has played more with 37.
  • Germany are hunting a record fourth European title in France, as are holders Spain.

The Red Devils too hot for Hungary

Belgium qualified for the quarter-finals in their first appearance in the competition since the 1980 edition in Italy.

Marc Wilmots’ men saw off the challenge of Hungary in their last 16 tie with a 4-0 victory at the Stadium Municipal in Toulouse.

Eden Hazard was in fine fettle on the night and inspired his side to victory.

Belgium were rewarded for a dominant start.

Kevin De Bruyne’s inviting cross was met by Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld who, unmarked, freely headed home past Hungary keeper Gabor Kiraly for the opener after just ten minutes of play.

Substitute Michy Batshuayi tapped home Hazard’s low cross with 12 minutes remaining while Hazard deservedly got himself on the scoreboard just a minute later.

The Chelsea player motored inside the Hungary box and rifled home a delightful finish for the third, and his first this edition of the tournament.

With Hungary down and out Yannick Carrasco took advantage to complete the scoring in added time as Belgium’s golden generation now face Wales for a place in the semis on Friday in Lille.

Player of the day

France forward Antoine Griezmann for his double that sent France past Ireland and into the last eight.

Day in photos

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