France 2-1 Republic of Ireland: Antoine Griezmann brace sends the Irish home

first_img1 France have booked their place in the quarter-finals of the 2016 European Championship finals with a 2-1 victory over Republic of Ireland.Martin O’Neill’s side took the lead in the second minute from the penalty spot, but it all fell apart for the Irish in the second half.A brace from Antoine Griezmann was followed by a red card for Shane Duffy, as this summer’s host nation sealed a spot in the last eight. It was a dream start to proceedings for Ireland. An early break forward resulted in the referee ruling Shane Long to have been fouled in the box by Paul Pogba.Robbie Brady – the man for the big occasion – stepped up to confidently convert his penalty kick, with the ball bouncing off the post and into the back of the net to make it 1-0 inside two minutes.Shell-shocked by their opponent’s blistering start, France looked to stage an instant response, as Pogba and Dimitri Payet set out to orchestrate play from deep.Olivier Giroud came close, almost meeting the cross of Antoine Griezmann, only for a crucial last-ditch header from Duffy denying the Arsenal striker a sublime chance to equalise with little under 15 minutes on the clock.The French continued in their attempts to carve an opening on goal, but Ireland’s tactics were working, as they comfortably soaked up the pressure.There were a few nervous seconds for Irish supporters in added time of the first half, with Payet and Griezmann seeing their efforts blocked in the box.O’Neill’s defence stood firm though, leaving their one goal lead intact at the break.It was a similarly quick start to the second half, as France pushed for an early equaliser, increasing the pressure.Ireland, though, weren’t without their threat in the final third. James McClean burst forward on the right flank, before drilling a dangerous ball across the face of goal. Hugo Lloris just managed to thwart the danger.But it wasn’t long until Didier Deschamps’ men drew level. Bacary Sagna delivered a cross into the box and Griezmann, unmarked, headed home to make it 1-1 in the 57th minute.Only four minutes later, the host nation had the lead. Giroud won a long ball forward, heading down to an again unmarked Griezmann who grabbed his second of the game with 61 minutes on the clock.And if Ireland supporters weren’t dejected enough, their heads will firmly have dropped when Duffy was dismissed. The defender was adjudged to have illegally brought down Griezmann on the edge of the box, denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. O’Neill’s troops were to play the remaining 25 minutes with 10 men.Heading into the final 10 minutes and the sting had gone out of the game. Ireland gave it their all, but ultimately couldn’t contain a determined French side, who saw out a 2-1 win. The Atletico Madrid forward broke Ireland hearts in Lyon last_img read more