- France have booked their place in the Euro 2016 final after beating world champions Germany in Marseille
- Antoine Griezmann gave France the lead from the penalty spot after Bastian Schweinsteiger handballed in the box
- Germany enjoyed the majority of possession and tested Hugo Lloris in the France goal on multiple occasions
- Atletico Madrid forward stabbed home a second 18 minutes from time after an error by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer
- Host nation will now take on Portugal in the tournament's grand final at the Stade de France on Sunday
The Germans always find a way to get it done, don’t they? Not this time. Here at a frenzied Stade Velodrome, the serial achievers of European football found a way to get it desperately and dramatically wrong.
France are in their own final in Paris on Sunday. It’s a great story but it doesn’t tell the story of this remarkable game.
Germany were the better team for much of this. They controlled the play and the tempo and for just about the whole of the first half they looked the more likely winners.
Antoine Griezmann scored both goals as France beat Germany to reach the Euro 2016 final in Marseille on Thursday evening
Griezmann celebrates after scoring from 12 yards in first-half stoppage time to send the host nation into the interval ahead
France were awarded the spot-kick after Bastian Schweinsteiger blocked Patrice Evra's header with his hand in the box
Schweinsteiger was booked by referee Nicola Rizzoli and Griezmann stepped up against Manuel Neuer from 12 yards
Neuer struck his left-footed effort beyond the Bayern Munich goalkeeper to put France in front
Neuer guessed the wrong way and Griezmann continued his hot streak in front of goal at the European Championship
Evra leads the celebrations after Griezmann's goal, which came against the run of play at Stade Velodrome in Marseille
MATCH FACTS & RATINGS
But for once Joachim Low’s team revealed themselves to be mortal. There is, it appears, no flawless formula in the German DNA.
The problem here was that they couldn’t score. To compound that, they gifted France two goals and, with them, a place in the final against Portugal.
This, generally, is not what the Germans do. Usually, they do what England never can. They over-achieve, they maximise and move inexorably forwards even when it seems as though they cannot.
So this was a reversal and, as such, a night to remember across Europe and not only in France.
We do not begrudge the hosts. Didier Deschamps’ team have performed in this tournament under considerable pressure.
Their country has suffered over the last eight months and this French team have known all along that opportunity to brighten the mood a little has been theirs. That is some weight to carry.
They are not the best French team we have ever seen.
They are not the best team to compete at Euro 2016. But they have tried to play on the front foot and have tried to play bravely and their little forward Antoine Griezmann has been a wonderful embodiment of that.
What a lovely and watchable player the 25-year-old has proved himself to be here. This is a young forward whose club season ended dismally as he missed a penalty in Atletico Madrid’s Champions League defeat to city rivals Real.
Yet he has set about this tournament with a hunger and an ambition that has set the tone of a team that has grown slowly in to the rhythm of this festival.
If Dimitry Payet set France rolling early on, Griezmann has taken the baton now.
His goals rescued France amid nerves and uncertainty against the Republic of Ireland in the last sixteen in Lyon and his two strikes wrestled this game away from the Germans after almost 45 minutes that had seen the holders outplay their opponents from front to back.
France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris enjoys Griezmann's goal just before the break during a pulsating encounter
France supporters celebrate wildly in the stands as Dimitri Payet, Evra, Griezmann and Blaise Matuidi revel in their opening goal
The Atletico Madrid forward added a second for the hosts with 18 minutes left of the game, stabbing home from close range
Low and his players will argue all the way home about penalty decision that gave France the edge in the death throes of the opening period. Certainly, it was a close call and it irreversibly changed the flow of the match.
There is no doubt about that and replays will maybe never provide us with a definitive answer.
But Bastian Schweinsteiger gave referee Nicola Rizzoli a decision to make when he showed a leading arm to jump clumsily with Patrice Evra at a corner and when the Italian came down on the side of the blue appeals, possibly on the advice of an assistant, Griezmann stepped forward to bury his penalty past Manuel Neuer.
It really was a huge moment in this tournament. France had started well and Griezmann could have scored in just the sixth minute as he played a double one-two with Blaise Matuidi – maybe we call that a 1-2-3-4 – to work Neuer low to the ‘keeper’s left.
After that, however, the German midfield took over and virtually the next 40 minutes of the game was played to the beat of their drum.
Deschamps had set Paul Pogba and Matuidi at the base of his midfield and left Leicester’s N’Golo Kante on the bench.
But it was Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil and the brilliant Toni Kroos who ran the game and had the strangely out of sorts Thomas Muller taken an early chance then we would no doubt be telling a different story this morning.
GRAHAM POLL: NICOLA RIZZOLI AND HIS TEAM GOT IT RIGHT WITH FRANCE'S FIRST-HALF PENALTY
Germany's players look crestfallen as the French celebrate behind them in front of flying Tricolours as the host nation progressed
France fans created an immense noise inside Stade Velodrome prior to kick-off as they looked for a rare tournament win over Germany
France coach Didier Deschamps and the rest of Les Bleus' backroom staff sing Le Marseillaise prior the game in Marseille
Griezmann leaps to head the ball as the host nation made a bright start to proceedings on the south coast of France
Matuidi, starting in a holding midfield role alongside Paul Pogba, beats Tony Kroos to an aerial challenge
France president Francois Hollande was in attendance at Stade Velodrome to watch his country attempt to reach the final
Olivier Giroud chases down Germany goalkeeper Neuer as the home side started the better of the two teams
Matuidi battles for possession with Emre Can, who was drafted in for his first start at Euro 2016 by Germany coach Joachim Low
Payet goes to ground under the challenge of Kroos in midfield as France huffed and puffed early on
The home side created the first clear-cut opportunity of the match when Griezmann cut in from the left and fired at Neuer
The Bayern Munich keeper did well to get down and stretch out his left hand to prevent the ball ending up in the back of the net
Julian Draxler - in the side in place of the injured Mario Gomez - jumps high to collect possession in front of Laurent Koscielny
Germany coach Low urges his team on from the sidelines and the world champions quickly accelerated into the ascendancy
Can of Liverpool tested Tottenham goalkeeper Lloris with a drive from the edge of the penalty area but the France No 1 saved
Meust Ozil holds off the attentions of Pogba and Matuidi as Germany took control of the tie, rattling the French
Kroos appeals for penalty after taking a tumble in the France penalty area but referee Rizzoli waved away the claims
The Real Madrid midfielder went to ground after colliding with Pogba but he did not get the penalty kick he was looking for
Payet had a go at goal from a 30-yard free-kick but Les Bleus rarely got out of their own half after the opening 10 minutes of the first period
France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris also saved well from Emre Can and touched a Schweinsteiger effort over the cross bar. Moments later Muller and Kroos got in each other’s way as Joshua Kimmich advanced to cross.
If it wasn’t quite a procession, the traffic was certainly only moving in one direction. But if you give a team an excuse to stay in a game then they may occasionally say thank you and this was the way after the break as France proved rather more resistant to German thrusts.
Low’s team still dominated the play. Kroos’ pass statistics alone were astonishing. But in truth they did lack penetration as the game wore on and only late on did they create clear chances.
By then they were two down and again it was a goal born of German misadventure.
Kimmich lost possession when trying to be clever in his own penalty area and when Pogba crossed nicely from the left Neuer could only palm the ball on to Griezmann’s toe end.
It is never quite over with the Germans of course and they kept playing properly. There is something to admire in that. Kimmich hit the bar and drew a super save from Lloris while Benedikt Howedes headed over.
This was not their night, though, and this is not their tournament. They are just like the rest of us, after all.
Lloris claims one of many German crosses into the penalty area as the world champions exerted more and more pressure
Thomas Muller's frustrating tournament continued in the first period as he dragged a good chance wide of Lloris' goal
Pogba breaks away from Can but France relinquished almost 70 per cent of the possession to their opponents in the first half
Lloris reaches up to push a long-range effort over the top of the crossbar as the Germans continued to dominate
Pogba bumped Payet off free-kick duty to try his luck from 30 yards but, like Payet, saw his shot saved by Neuer in the Germany goal
Giroud cut a frustrated figure as France struggled to make an impact until they received a dose of good-fortune just before half-time
Schweinsteiger lead with his hand as he tried to beat Evra to a cross and handballed in the penalty area
Griezmann stepped up and sent Neuer the wrong way to put his country in front and score his fifth goal of the tournament
Griezmann is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring the opening goal of the clash at Stade Velodrome
France came out strongly in the second half having taken the lead against the run of play and Giroud saw a shot blocked
Draxler slides through the back of Moussa Sissoko, earning the German forward a yellow card early in the second period
Germany suffered a major blow when Jerome Boateng sustained a hamstring injury and had to be replaced in the second half
After Boateng had been replaced, Griezmann added a second for the home side after Neuer pushed a cross into his path
The German defence cannot believe they've conceded a second goal as Griezmann wheels away to celebrate with his team-mate