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Euro 2016: Didier Deschamps praises France for repaying his faith but Joachim Low says the better side lost

Final clash with Portugal has sent France crazy: Deschamps

By Mark Ogden

Published 08/07/2016

Man of the match: France’s two-goal hero Griezemann
Man of the match: France’s two-goal hero Griezemann

Victorious Didier Deschamps claimed his France team has driven the nation 'crazy' after overcoming the odds to reach Sunday's Euro 2016 final against Portugal in Paris.

Two goals from Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann secured a 2-0 semi-final victory for France against world champions Germany in Marseille to confirm a final against Portugal at the Stade de France on Sunday.

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Antoine Griezmann of France celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Antoine Griezmann of France celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Antoine Griezmann (C) of France celebrates scoring his team's second goal with his team mates during the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 07: Football fans watch the 2016 UEFA European Championship match between Germany and France at a public viewing area on a large outdoor screen at Brandenburg Gate on July 7, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Bongarts/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Jerome Boateng of Germany receives treatment on the touchline during the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
France's goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (R) jumps for the ball during the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULATANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images
MUNICH, GERMANY - JULY 07: A Supporter of the German national soccer team react during the UEFA EURO 2016 match between Germany and France at the public viewing area in the Olympia Stadion on July 7, 2016 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Marc Mueller/Bongarts/Getty Images)
French supporters react in the Marseille fan zone during the Euro 2016 semifinal soccer match between Germany and France,Thursday, July 7, 2016 in Marseille, southern France. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
French supporters react in the Marseille fan zone during the Euro 2016 semifinal soccer match between Germany and France,Thursday, July 7, 2016 in Marseille, southern France. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Lena Stiffel, girlfriend of Julian Draxler is seen in the stand prior to the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
France's Antoine Griezmann, celebrates scoring his side's opening goal during the Euro 2016 semifinal soccer match between Germany and France, at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Antoine Griezmann of France reacts to a missed opportunity during the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany reacts after being shown a yellow card by referee Nicola Rizzoli and conceding a penalty during the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
France's forward Olivier Giroud (L) vies for the ball with Germany's defender Benedikt Hoewedes during the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Ludivine Sagna, wife of Bacary Sagna of France is seen in the stand is seen prior to the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
German supporters follow the Euro 2016 semi-final football match Germany v France, taking place in Marseille, France, during the public screening at the "Fan Mile" in Berlin on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALLJOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Mesut Oezil of Germany shields the ball from Dimitri Payet and Blaise Matuidi of France during the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
German supporters follow the Euro 2016 semi-final football match Germany v France, taking place in Marseille, France, during the public screening at the "Fan Mile" in Berlin on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALLJOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Benedikt Hoewedes of Germany tackles Olivier Giroud of France during the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
France's forward Antoine Griezmann (R) and Germany's defender Emre Can vie for the ball during the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVATBORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images
Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer dives for the ball during the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Valery HACHEVALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Joachim Loew head coach of Germany looks on before the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - Ludivine Payet (1st L), wife of Dimitri Payet of France kisses her child prior to the match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France.
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: France fans enjoy the atmosphere before the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Dimitri Payet of France is seen prior to the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Moussa Sissoko of France battles for the ball with Thomas Mueller of Germany during the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
France's President Francois Hollande attends the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
German supporters follow the Euro 2016 semi-final football match Germany v France, taking place in Marseille, France, during the public screening at the "Fan Mile" in Berlin on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALLJOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images
Germany supporters hold a banner with the national colours ahead the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVATBORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images
Germany supporters hold a banner with the national colours ahead the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOTPASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images
A banner with the logo of the UEFA Euro 2016 football championchip is held during the opening ceremony ahead the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOTPASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images
Germany supporters pose prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULATANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images
France supporters cheer prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Lyon Fan Zone, on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ROMAIN LAFABREGUEROMAIN LAFABREGUE/AFP/Getty Images
A France team's fan waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semifinal soccer match between Germany and France, at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A Germany's supporter waves her country's national flag prior to the start of the Euro 2016 semifinal soccer match between Germany and France, at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A France fan, face painted in the colors of the French flag, chants from the stands before the Euro 2016 semifinal soccer match between Germany and France, at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
German supporters on the stands wait for the start of the Euro 2016 semifinal soccer match between Germany and France, at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
France disguised supporters hold a dog as they cheer prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France in Marseille, on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENETJEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images
A Germany's supporter smiles prior to the start of the Euro 2016 semifinal soccer match between Germany and France, at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A France supporter puts make up to another supporter prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France in Marseille, on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENETJEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images
Germany and France supporters cheer together prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France in Marseille, on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENETJEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images
France supporters cheer prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOISBERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: France fans enjoy the atmosphere before the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
France supporters cheer prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Toulouse Fan Zone, on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Rémy GABALDAREMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images
A France supporter cheers prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Toulouse Fan Zone, on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Rémy GABALDAREMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images
France supporters cheer prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Toulouse Fan Zone, on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Rémy GABALDAREMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: A Germany fan enjoys the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
A Germany supporter holds a flag prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULATANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: A Germany fan wearing Oliver Khan mask enjoys the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
A Germany supporter holds flags prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULATANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images
A France fan holds up the French flag as he waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
A France supporter cheers prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOISBERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images
France supporters cheer prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Toulouse Fan Zone, on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Rémy GABALDAREMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images
A French fan waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
France supporters kiss prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOISBERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images
France supporters look on prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND LANGLOISBERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images
A France fan waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
A France fan waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
A France fan waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZPATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images
Germany supporters wait for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULATANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images
A Germany supporter flashes the V-sign prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULATANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images
Germany's midfielder Mesut Oezil (L) and France's midfielder Blaise Matuidi vie for the ball during the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVATBORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: (L-R back) Manuel Neuer, Jonas Hector, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Emre Can and Jerome Boateng of Germany, (L-R front) Joshua Kimmich, Julian Draxler, Benedikt Hoewedes, Thomas Mueller and Mesut Oezil of Germany line up for a team photograph before the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JULY 07: Moussa Sissoko of France battles for the ball with Thomas Mueller of Germany during the UEFA EURO semi final match between Germany and France at Stade Velodrome on July 7, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
France supporters kiss as they wait for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Germany's supporters wearing a costume with the colours of the German flag, pose prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match Germany vs France, in Marseille southern France, on July 7, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
A France supporter arrives for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
A France supporter waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
The beautiful game - football fans from around the world - A France supporter waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016.
A France supporter waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
A France supporter waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
France supporters wait for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
A France supporter waits for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
France's supporters cheer prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match Germany vs France, in Marseille, southern France, on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENETJEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images
A France supporter arrives for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Germany's supporters cheer prior to the Euro 2016 semi-final football match Germany vs France, in Marseille southern France, on July 7, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENETJEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images

The French overcame Germany at a major tournament for the first time since 1958 to claim their place in the final.

Deschamps, who captained France to World Cup glory in 1998, admitted that his team were forced to battle all the way against the Germans.

"We found it tough but we didn't give up," Deschamps said. "There is quality in this German team and when they don't have the ball it gets even more complicated. We had the best team in the world opposite us.

"But before we came to the stadium we saw people going crazy ­- they are going to be even crazier on Sunday."

Deschamps made a bold selection by leaving N’Golo Kante out of the team following the Leicester City midfielder’s one-match suspension.

But the decision to stick with Blaise Matuidi and Paul Pogba in midfield proved key before Griezmann made the difference with a first-half penalty and second-half strike, which took his tournament tally to six goals.

“I’ve always believed in my players,” Deschamps said.

“The ones I chose to form this group have repaid me handsomely, this is their story, their victory.

“There’s a lot of joy, happiness, pride. This match was tough, against a great team in the World champions, but our level never dropped.

“We suffered at times, but we won. It is fabulous, it is the final for us now.”

The game was a tale of clinical finishing triumphing over territorial advantage as Germany bossed the play for the majority of the game but struggled to create anything in the way of clear-cut chances. They enjoyed almost 70 per cent first-half possession in a performance of control and dominance which was lacking only a goal — and that proved to be their undoing.

It was all about Euro 2016 poster boy Griezmann, who enhanced his love affair with the French public with his double.

“I’m very pleased. We knew it would be very tough and we held firm defensively, our keeper played very well,” he said.

“We have to rest up well and already start thinking about the final.

“We will start training for it tomorrow. Against Portugal, it’s 50-50, anything can happen in a final, it’s a one-off game.”

France have now beaten Germany at a major tournament for the first time since 1958.

They have also kept their first major tournament clean sheet against the World champions.

Germany coach Joachim Low saw his team spurn a series of clear chances during the game at Stade Velodrome.

And he insisted he had no complaints about the performance, claiming Germany were the better team. “Not too many things went wrong,” Low said.

“I must compliment my side. We were the better team.

“We’ve put in a good performance, a powerful display.

“Conceding the goal a minute from half-time was unfortunate... of course we had our chances and, regretfully, we didn’t score.

“We just didn’t have the luck we needed here.

“But in 2010 or 2012 when we went out, the sides were better than us.

“Today this wasn’t the case. We were better than the French.

“The side did everything I asked of them. We had a lot of courage. I can’t blame them for anything.”

Low, meanwhile, has backed the French to emerge as European champions by defeating Portugal on Sunday.

“If you win 2-0 you deserve it, and I think the French will win against Portugal,” Low said.

“Portugal, in the games so far, have not convinced me that much.

“But I think the French are a very good side, even if we were the better team today.”

Germany have failed to follow France and Spain in doing the double of holding the European Championship and World Cup at the same time.

They have been the scourge of host countries in the past, defeating six at the semi-final stage in major tournaments, including England at Euro ‘96 and, most memorably, thrashing hosts Brazil 7-1 at the 2014 World Cup.

But they have lost four of their last six semi-finals at major tournaments (2006, 2010, 2012, 2016).

Belfast Telegraph

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